How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500

One thing that has been on my mind this month is how I graduated with my Finance MBA two years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago, but then again it also feels like it was just yesterday. This has also reminded me about how I graduated with my undergraduate degrees over 4 years ago….

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 16, 2024

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How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500One thing that has been on my mind this month is how I graduated with my Finance MBA two years ago.

It feels like a lifetime ago, but then again it also feels like it was just yesterday.

This has also reminded me about how I graduated with my undergraduate degrees over 4 years ago. For some reason, people don’t believe that’s true, and I was even recently asked to provide proof from a reader…

I know, I have a baby face! The fact that I look a decade younger than I actually am is a whole ‘nother story though.

If you’re wondering the below, please continue reading!

  • How to graduate college in 3 years
  • How to finish college in 2 years
  • How to get a bachelor’s degree in 2 years
  • Can you finish college in 2 years
  • How to graduate college in 2 years

Related: 21 Ways You Can Learn How To Save Money In College

The main reason why I got so heavily into school was because I wanted to keep busy. I was a freshman in college when my father passed away.

I took four days off from my full-time job after he passed but I quickly went back to keep my mind off of everything that was going on around me. I then worked and went to school a crazy amount of hours to keep my mind off of it. This continued for years and it was my way of dealing with it all.

As a side note, I really didn’t mean for this post to turn slightly depressing but I’m just stating what happened.

There were other reasons for why I rushed through college as well:

  • You might save money. Many colleges (such as the one I went to) charge a flat tuition fee for those attending anywhere from 13 to 18 credit hours. So, whether you take 13 credits or 18 credits, you usually pay the exact same amount of money. Considering the average person takes around 12 to 13 credit hours each semester, that’s a lot of money wasted in my eyes.
  • You can move on quicker. It might be just me, but I couldn’t wait to be done with school. Since I finished so quickly, I was able to dedicate this free time towards something else.
  • You can (hopefully) earn a higher income sooner. Okay, so this isn’t always true, but many people go to college in hopes of making more money when they graduated. After my dad passed away, I officially realized I was completely on my own. I didn’t want to live paycheck to paycheck forever, so I worked towards graduating early so that I could eventually make more money.

Now, I know many of you will say “but college is meant to be enjoyed!”

Yes, that is one thing I definitely missed out on since I went through school so quickly. I worked full-time the entire time I was in college, and I missed out on a lot of “normal” college experiences. I was in one college club, and I joined it about a year before I graduated from college so that I could have something college related to put on my resume.

I didn’t make any lifelong friends in college either. Which probably sounds depressing but I promise it’s not. I still have the same friends I’ve had since high school and that is, of course, fine by me.

I also didn’t live in a dorm or college apartment, instead I rented a tiny home (less than 400 square feet and dingy) so I didn’t have the college party experience either.

But I don’t mind. I am who I am today because of my past, and I am happy with the life I have today.

Many people have asked me “Can you finish a degree in two years?

Here are the actions I took to graduate from college in 2.5 years:


I took college classes in high school.

When I was in my senior year, almost all of my classes were classes where I was earning college credit. I took AP classes and classes that earned me college credit from nearby private universities (but I took them in the comfort of my high school). I believe I left high school with 14 credit hours (it might have been 18, I cannot remember). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college.

Also, these classes were cheap. I believe it was around $100 per credit hour instead of the normal cost which was anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per credit hour.

My senior year in high school was a breeze even though I was taking so many college classes. I could have taken even more but I had early release each day from school and got out 3 hours early so that I could go to work instead. So, I had plenty of time to work, go to school, and earn college credits.


I took a full course load.

When I was in college, I almost always took a full course load.  I took 15 credit hours one semester, but the other semesters I took 21 to 24 credit hours.

I was able to save money because I almost always took the maximum amount. There were also semesters where I paid an extra fee so that I could take 24 credit hours each semester. Anything over 18 credit hours meant I had to pay the extra fee, but it didn’t really bother me. I still saved money by paying less in fees because I wasn’t adding additional semesters to my course load.


I took classes one summer.

I regret not doing this more often. I did go to college in the summer time one semester though. I took 12 credit hours and even had to beg the Dean at the college for permission, but he still allowed it. The classes were easy and I had no problem doing this.

I also was able to save money because I took these summer college classes at a community college. I believe it was around $1,500 for all 12 credit hours, which is a steal!


I made sure all my classes transferred.

When I took classes for college credit in high school and at the community college, I made sure all of the classes transferred to the university in which I was getting my degree from.

I have heard too many stories about people not checking this ahead of time and wasting years by taking classes that didn’t transfer, and that is just not worthwhile to me.

I even have a friend who had 66 credit hours which didn’t transfer. That is just insane to me!


I took night classes.

For some reason, night classes have a bad reputation among certain people. I’m not sure why that is though.

Night classes are literally the exact same thing as day classes, except they are at night time. Yes, it’s really that simple.

Being able to take night classes helped me graduate sooner because I was able to work full-time during the day and attend my college classes at night time. If it weren’t for the night classes, I don’t think I would have been able to graduate as early as I did at all.

Are you trying to graduate from college quickly or are you taking your time? Did you earn any college credits outside of where you earned your degree? Are you interested in learning how to get a bachelor’s degree in 2 years?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Jacek

    This is very tough job.

    1. Yes, it definitely was.

  2. Most basic bachelors degrees here are 3 yrs so I finished in 3.

    I didn’t really have the typical experience either as I worked a lot to support myself and lived out in the burbs, and didn’t really fit in with most oof the typical comms students. It wasn’t really till my last year, amongst the serious journalism crowd, that I made any friends.

    1. Interesting! Degrees in the United States take 4 years but most people seem to finish within 5 years.

    2. Kyanna Kleyer

      Thank you for posting this article!!! I’m starting college in the fall, and I really want to finish early. This gave me the exact information that I need!! This will help me out so much, thank you!!!!!!

  3. Dimana Dyakova

    It was actually really inspiring to read through this post. I’m in university right now, but I’m a part time student, which makes it all the more easier for me to work full-time job.
    However to this date (I’m 24 now) I haven’t saved a single $$$ aside. It’s just who I am. I save up some amount and then I immediately go travel, donate some of the money or get myself something I big I wanted for a long time.
    I’m lucky enough to have also found a husband, who has enough brains to do the savings part. He’s also very mad at me that I cannot save up some amount of money, but that’s just who I am. Don’t get me wrong I really tried, it’s just not my thing. I am not well organized when it comes to money. I’m not THAT of a material girl, I love giving out bits of joy to the people I love and to fill my days with activities that make me better as a person.
    I’m not afraid to lose my home and to have to think how to live the next day.
    I definitely consider myself the more ‘nomad” kind of person, but I still admire people who are able to save up money. It’s inspirational, even though I cannot do it 🙂
    Thank you for the lovely post!

    1. Thanks Dimana for reading and sharing your story 🙂

  4. cherie

    Well our lives are what they are. I’m sorry that you had to deal with such a loss at a young age, but it seems that your method of ‘therapy’ was one that led you to a healthy outcome. I think your points are well thought through and applicable to anyone attending college [says the mother of someone soon to be there – so thanks 🙂 ]

  5. Brigid OHara Koshko

    Congratulations! You are a shinning example of what hard work and dedication will get you. I wish I had similar advice when I was in college. I did follow some of the same paths (AP courses in high school, worked full time, rented a tiny off campus housing) I regret not pushing hard to finish sooner (graduated in 4 years) and I would have like to have received two degrees not one. I am looking into returning to school for another degree in another field – the field I work in and love. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks! Good luck going back to school and getting a degree you love. I’m sure you will do great 🙂

  6. Amy

    Your drive is very impressive – especially for such a young person. I completed college in the standard four years, and was fortunate enough to have parents who paid for it completely. (They made me take out some loans for grad school, though.) You clearly did “miss out” on the typical college experience, but I don’t think you really missed anything.

    I, too, looked very young for many years, but finally stopped getting carded in my mid-thirties. It was a little shocking and disappointing when it stopped! 🙂

  7. Brandy @ Busted Budget

    Dang girl, you hustled your way through college! Sounds like it was all worthwhile to you which is all that matters. It took me, on the other hand, 6 years to earn 2 degrees. Considering I was working 2 jobs most of that time and planning a wedding and building a house during my graduate degree, I needed to pace myself.

    1. I can’t imagine planning a wedding through all that chaos! We bought our house while I was in college, but our process was a breeze and just took a few weeks thankfully.

  8. Wow, that is impressive, Michelle! I totally agree with you about getting through quickly even if it means a few sacrifices and a bit of hard work. Although it’s nice to enjoy college with all the extracurricular activities, I’m the type that likes to focus and put my all into whatever I happen to be doing, esp if it’s something as important (and expensive!) as college. I’ve never regretted it, and I’m glad you haven’t either! 🙂

    1. Thanks! Yes, I wouldn’t change a thing about my college “experience.”

  9. You are always burning through it, aren’t you? I took the normal four years, but that is because I wanted to enjoy every bit of college. I am really glad I did take that time. I met a lot of people, met my wife, and had a great time.

    1. Haha yes, I do everything quickly Grayson. I’ve had my same group of friends since high school (none of us actually went to the same high school though) and we’re all pretty much like this.

  10. Very clever! I was nowhere near that focused or determined in undergrad! An interesting new trend are 4 year BA/MA programs.They’re along the same lines of what you did–taking a full load year-round and then graduating for the price of one degree with two. I got my MA for free by working full-time at the university–tuition remission is a fantastic benefit that most universities offer their employees. I’m going to pass this post along to all of my high-school age relatives who are terrified about the cost of college!

    1. Yes, that’s a GREAT way to save money on the cost of college!

  11. Petra Jadan

    Nowadays is hard to finish college fast because we also need a full time job. I am finishing my bachelor in 4 years however is extremely hard because aside from the full time job, I already have a family that depends on me as well as my husband. Thank God I will be finishing soon.

    1. Good job on finishing soon!

  12. Ben

    Would have been good advice ten years ago, but even still the sort of work ethic and go-get-em attitude necessary to stick to these guidelines would be rare in many college kids.

  13. amanda

    college was so expensive for me (private liberal arts school). i could have done it so much cheaper 100 different ways. luckily, i have memories that make it all worth it – and i met my husband there! still makes me cringe when i think of how much i owe, haha.

    1. Sounds like the memories were worthwhile! I met my husband in high school so I didn’t mind skipping the whole college experience 🙂

  14. Alicia

    Holy Cow Michelle, I didn’t realize you finished your undergrad in 2.5 years! I took the standard 4 years, but I did do some of these things. I earned a bursary to go learn French in Montreal for the summer and it counted as 6 credit hours and my first year language credit… it was completely free except for my flight. So that was 5% of my degree for free 🙂

    I took summer courses to ease my course load in my last two years, but I didn’t do it to finish faster. I was having trouble keeping up in 5 upper level courses in Chemistry because of the labs as well, so I took all my electives (2nd year calculus, 2nd year physics, etc) in the summer between 3rd and 4th year. It helped immensely and let me focus on my Honours project so much more (which then helped me get into grad school because I rocked my Honours project).

    1. 5% of your degree for free sounds awesome, and it sounds like a great way to earn it!

  15. Wow, it’s eerie how similar our college experiences were. One thing I did differently is I nagged my professors into teaching directed study courses. It was one-on-one. I would just report to them every few weeks showing them all the stuff I had done since our last meeting. Very chill. I just had to prove I was self-motivated. Oh, I also took online classes. Those were awesome because instead of going to class and learning nothing, I did homework during those hours. Much more efficient use of my time.

    I’m sure a lot of people thought you were crazy for graduating early but I don’t-that’s for sure! Congrats on being awesome, Michelle!

    1. One-on-one courses sound great! My summer at the community college was all online. It was the easiest semester of my life.

  16. laurie damrose

    I am gong back in the Fall,I was fortunate enough to get money through FASFA.

    1. Awesome! Good luck 🙂

  17. Janice Dean

    Very good information! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  18. Thanks! And I agree, not everyone can do it. It takes a lot of determination. I was able to keep my grades up and I graduated with around a 3.9 GPA (I can’t remember the exact number).

  19. Thanks! I probably should have mentioned that I still hung out with my friends when I was in college. It just wasn’t a daily thing. It was more like a few times a week 🙂

  20. Aww thanks Thomas!

  21. Mary Hill

    I loved college. I wish I could go back. Right now I am taking free courses

    1. Free courses sound great!

  22. Sarah

    You are SO much better off though for not having a “normal” college experience. Those that only take 12 credit hours a semester (which was the minimum at my college for “full time”) and spent every weekend partying are now neck deep in debt and struggling to make ends meet. You are young, no debt, and enjoying life NOW rather than later (if ever) because you worked hard when you were young(er).

    I finished my teaching degree in four years (instead of the standard five) by taking the full amount every semester (18 credits) and taking a full load every summer.

    1. Good job on graduating ahead of time as well Sarah!

  23. I was in no rush to graduate from college lol. I was there for 5.5 years. I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s amazing that you’re still friends with people you went to high school with. I don’t keep in contact with anybody from high school. I met most of my lifelong friends in college.

    1. Oh I didn’t go to high school with my friends. Haha I was just friends with them during my high school years. I don’t talk to a single person from high school actually.

  24. Newlyweds on a Budget

    you’ve just always seemed wiser than your years. Yes, you’ve made sacrifices, but it seems like it’s paying off for you now!

  25. I took one AP class in high school and even that helped a lot in college. You are such a hard worker! Don’t forget to enjoy life a little.

  26. I took a bunch of extra credits when I was in college, but I still graduated in 4 years (I was a double major so I needed a bunch of extra classes). I loved college life so I don’t regret being there for the full 4 years, although it would have been nice to leave with less student debt.

  27. I graduated a semester early even with transferring. I missed out on the “experience” too because Hurricane Katrina hit my freshman year and pretty much devastated everything I knew for months on end – Also I am a nerd and never set foot in a bar in college haha.

    1. I’m sorry about Hurricane Katrina 🙁 I’m sure that was devastating.

      Also, if it helps I didn’t step foot in a bar in college either since I graduated at the age of 20 and wasn’t legally able to! Hahaha

  28. I pretty much did the opposite of you. I changed my major several times, transferred schools three times and studied abroad for a year (no regrets on this one!) It took me 4.5 years to graduate (including a summer term). It certainly wasn’t a cheap way to figure out what I wanted to do, but it got me where I needed to be.
    Now that I have siblings starting college, I hope they take your path and not mine. Excellent job! What a work ethic!

    1. Thanks Kate! still sounds like you did well.

  29. Congratulations on your achievement and thanks for sharing. Your outstanding character and ability to focus on important goals is evident.

    One thing I really appreciate is something too often missing in educational decisions. You did well to consider and check out factually whether all your hours would transfer. Many junior colleges and the like will tell you their hours will transfer when they don’t to your chosen school but even worse, many students assume they will without asking. I have witnessed it all to often and it is sad.

    It is the same with students who graduate with degrees that really do them no good when it comes to getting a job. To succeed in life you have to keep your eyes open and check out the facts before making important decisions.

    Not everyone would want to make the same choices you did, but everyone would be well advised to take on the achievement of their chosen goals with the same enthusiasm and drive.

    Again, a great achievement on your part.

    1. Thank you James! 🙂

  30. I agree – shooting through college is totally the way to go. I made it out in 3 years with a double major thanks to AP Classes and summer classes. The community college by my parents house even had winter session classes that were week long intensives during Christmas break that I took one winter. That was a little rough, honestly.

    i did make a lot of good friends there though and I was pretty sad to move on quickly. But I visited a lot and many of them are still my good friends, even though I shot out of there like a bat outta hell.

    1. Good job to you too Mel!

  31. Melissa

    The only thing I did to graduate sooner, and thus save a little bit of money, was to take grad school classes in the summer. That saved me SOME money, but grad school summer classes were almost as expensive as grad school regular-quarter classes, so it really just saved me money in rent (I moved out sooner because I graduated sooner).

    Honestly, I made my best friends in college – so for that reason, I’m glad I had the ‘typical’ experience. Also, like you, I took 18 credits every semester, but instead of graduating earlier, I just double majored and studied abroad. You and I just took different paths – I needed college to grow up and become an independent adult – some people don’t! 🙂

    1. Sounds like you took a great path Melissa! 🙂

  32. Thank you for sharing your story – that definitely takes motivation and passion and dedication and you did it ! And like you said, you created different kinds of memories and have other relationships so no reason to dwell on feeling like you missed out on college shenanigans 😉

    1. Thanks Michelle! 🙂

  33. Sounds like you did well!

  34. Jaye Cantagallo

    You are a very focus driven young lady! My daughter just turned 26…. I wish she had half of your drive and ambition! Congratulations!

    1. Thank you Jaye 🙂

  35. Nothing wrong with finishing college quickly. It can still be enjoyed while you focus on your goals and get your work done. Those people that “enjoy” college for 5 or 6 years are the ones that are in for some rough times in the real world. Great job.

  36. Christina G.

    You are obviously a mature and driven young lady. It took me 18 years to get to degrees while working full-time. I was a single parent though, which makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, it would be much more difficult with children in the mix. Good job!

  37. So lucky that you’re able to ‘hack’ the system in this way over in the US. Great job taking the initiative to work harder earlier on and save yourself big bucks by cutting back on the expensive college time. Wish we could do something similar in the UK but over here you must attend university for the full 3 years even though only about 30% of the time is actually spent in lectures.

    1. Is there a reason you must spend 3 years? You can’t take more classes? Interesting!

      1. Melanie

        Its because you do not sign up for classes- they are prescribed based on the degree you enrol on. We start on our subject right from the beginning here in the UK- we do not spend time taking a mixture of classes then picking a major, which is why our degrees are only 3 years in length, and not 4. You must complete all your prescribed modules per year, no more no less!

  38. You are such a hard worker! I took my time and followed the normal path — although I worked all the way through college to finance my studies. I can’t imagine how busy you were doing everything like that. Good for you that you managed to get some credits during high school so you could finish college earlier although you were doing night classes. Keep up the hard work but don’t forget to enjoy your life now! 🙂

    1. Thanks! 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m enjoying life. I have a ton of free time now.

  39. Marie @ Financial Debauchery

    All I can say is, WOOWW!!!! You’re such a great inspiration Michelle! But honestly, I didn’t know that you can take college classes while you’re in high school.

  40. Ronaldo Pangilagan

    Wow! Most of us really wanted to finish college as fast as we can. This is a very helpful tip for everyone. Thanks for sharing this to us.. 🙂

  41. Michelle Li

    I would love to learn more about learning to use go daddy.

    1. May I ask what your questions are regarding it? I can try to help 🙂

  42. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore

    I graduated early from college too and used most of these same tips as you. I too skipped the partying part of college and instead worked full time and took a full course load too. I am into my 4 year school with 30 credit hours from summer classes and college classes taken during my senior year of HS. I knew where I wanted to go to college so I made sure that everthing I took from my local community college would transfer once I graduated HS and moved to my 4 year school.

  43. Alexandra @ Real Simple Finances

    I powered through my MA by taking 5 classes in my first semester; you pay the same fee whether you take 3, 4 or 5 classes, so I figured I would bite the bullet. I was insanely disappointed when one class that I needed to take to graduate wasn’t offered in the Spring, and I had to stay an extra semester. Still, I took on a teaching assistantship which came with a 50% tuition discount.

    I didn’t have those “typical college experiences” either, and I am fine with it! I preferred working, seeing my friends from before college, and taking classes to partying with people I hardly knew. 🙂

    1. Sounds like we are pretty similar Alexandra! 🙂

  44. I did nearly the same thing, except I didn’t start taking extra classes until my second year in (I didn’t realize you could!). I went to community college for a year, transferred, and stayed there for two years. I had AP credit, I took summer classes, I had to get permission from the dean to take 19 credits one semester, and took online classes as well. I went to a commuter college, so there was no dorming or typical college experience. I do have slight regrets about it, but it enabled me to focus on my classes!

    1. Sounds like you did well!

  45. ivan p

    wow! thats such an inspiration. you are such hardworking.
    ps, thanks for the tips 🙂

  46. sandra

    i don’t think i would want to spend less than 4 years in college just because those are some of the best times of one’s life. why rush it?

    1. I still had a great time 🙂

  47. Stephanie LaPlante

    I can’t afford college right now but I’m definitely trying.

    1. Good luck Stephanie. I’m sure whatever you do will be great 🙂

  48. Rust

    Yours is a very inspiring story. I can only imagine your dedication and work ethic. Congrats to you. 🙂

  49. I had a pretty crazy college experience – I ended up looking after my two teenage sisters for two years of my degree. Needless to say my studies suffered a bit, but in the end I graduated… no savings in sight though haha!

    1. Sounds like something pretty similar happened to the both of us. I’ve been watching after my sister and she just moved out last week. I’m still sad!

  50. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I finished by Bachelors in 3.5 years, which definitely isn’t the same as what you did. But my friends still wondered why I wanted to get out faster than they did. I did it purely for the financial gain – one summer my school decided to discount summer courses, so I gave up my last summer of college to take a full semester’s worth of classes for cheaper than usual. I don’t regret it one bit!

  51. Suzie M

    You certainly know what you want out of life & you aren’t afraid of work to get it Good for you

  52. Andrew @ Budgetopolis

    Thank you! This is a great post! My daughter is a sophomore in high school, and I have been trying to tell her some of these same things. I have been telling her to start taking CLEP tests when she is in 11th and 12th grades, as she is in AP classes, since the first two years of college are often a re-hash of the last two years of high school. It’s great to see someone who has “been there, done that, got the diploma” sharing tips. I am going to show this to my wife and daughter.

    1. I started taking college classes at 14 years old, freshman year of high school, and as a result I will be graduating high school and college at 16 years old. Check out my blog,, which documents my experiences at a receive a high school diploma and Associate of Science degree in December of 2017 (half way through my junior year in high school)

      1. Dicky Buttus

        Nobody cares enough about you or your overachieving egotistical attitude

  53. M.Clark

    These are all good tips for anyone who wants to finish college sooner, I think it can definitely be done. Thank you for sharing this post.

  54. Great post! I think there are benefits to getting through college quickly, especially financially. But, I also think there are benefits to getting the full experience of college. I took 4.5 years and I enjoyed every bit of it. The only downside is the debt that I accumulated throughout the 4.5 years.

  55. ko

    How did you magae your time . This is the part I cant work out …

    Wheer i live we can take 4 papers/classes per semester and each one requires approx 2 hours of work each day. My job on avaegae takes up around 9-10 hrs per day. So that would account for 17-18 hours out of a week day. Then there are life things to take care of each day and finally sleep.

    any tips on how to juggle it all….

    1. It’s definitely hard to manage your time. It’s all about being able to do everything quick and making a schedule. There were many years where I would only receive 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night, and then went on for years.

      1. For last couple of weeks, I have been pretty much breathing your blog. I happen to be a college student and I work two jobs (combined about 36 hours each week) and taking 17 hour credit classes. Please give me any tips if you can about managing time and how to study well, the most I found online are for people who has insane amount of time or their parents are paying for it so they don’t need to work.Also, if you could say something about how to manage money while in college (anything you wish you had done/ways students can earn extra income). I am not getting the college experience either and I moved to US 4 years ago, so it has been extremely challenging as I need to spend more time understanding material than any other average person who speaks fluent english. Love you and keep posting 🙂

        1. Victoria

          Hi Shaila,

          I definitely don’t have it as tough as you so major props to you, but my favorite way to study is by using a timer in a quite place. I can’t have any distractions near or around me. Once I’m ready to get focused and have all my materials I need to study, I’ll set an estimate of how long I expect to take to work on whatever the assignment is. So say you expect to spend an hour on the assignment or material. I’ll set the timer for an hour and make it a goal to be done by then or even before the timer goes off. If you don’t have a timer, an alarm or even just a regular clock will work. Just make sure you’re keeping an eye on the time!

          I’ve found that most people, including myself, can really get motivated to work hard when a deadline is approaching and they have been procrastinating. By timing yourself, your setting up a kind of “deadline” and the best part is, if you miss your “deadline” its ok. Just reevaluate the amount of work you have left and reset the timer. Obviously the goal is to beat the timer but our judgment isn’t always going to be perfect.

          Plus by giving yourself a time limit, you can try to schedule your day better and that should help with the time management part. I use this for everything! This includes timing myself to do chores, otherwise I’ll put it off and never get to it.

          Modify this to make it work for you. Like I said, I need no distractions whatsoever. However, some people like listening to music while they do school work. If this is you, instead of using a timer, I would guess how many songs it would take you to complete the assignment and use that as an estimator to get the work done.

          As far as making extra money, I hear tutoring other students can make you a lot of money very easily. It’s very little work since you already (hopefully) know the material you would be tutoring in. This is also really beneficial if you tutor in a topic related to your major since you’ll be interested in the subject and its a really good way to practice and solidify your knowledge of it as well.

          Hope this helps! Best of luck to you and your studies 🙂

          1. Hi Victoria!
            Thank you so much for your comment. I did pretty good on my classes thankfully! But I really appreciate your advise. I can’t also focus on anything if there are noises to distract me. Also, it is insanely hard for me to sit down in one place for too long and do one thing.. I don’t like the relationship with chair and desk.. too bad.. since most of the jobs require that in my career.
            I am also one of those people who works better when there’s a deadline. So I will definitely use the timer idea. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I think of it before. I use google docs to take my notes in class and have that downloaded on my phone so whenever I go to bed I can study my notes till I fall asleep. That’s been working pretty well for me.
            Also, I added a second major and I find that the more pressure I have on me.. the more I work to get a good use of time. Weird, I know! But the pressure of getting everything done keeps me on track kind of like your timer idea, the pressure of meeting the deadline.
            As far tutoring goes.. I am very shy when it comes to talking to people, as I feel they notice my wrong grammar, lack of english speaking skill and accent more than what I am actually saying. Also I get very little time outside of working two jobs and studying, the amount of free times I get, I invest them all on naps [can’t live without sleep.. not me]
            But I think I will be okay for awhile..I slowly trying to get better at calming myself that it’s okay to live in a bit of financial insecurity and I am doing as much as I can to make it better.

            Again I appreciate your comment very much and wish you best of luck!

            1. Pam

              Kudos to you for your ambition, hard work, & diligence! Perhaps another take on tutoring would be if you could tutor/work with teaching someone else who your language? Or tutoring someone speaking your language who doesn’t have as much English fluency? There is also a program where you can be a tour guide/Sherpa at your school for interested, potential incoming students. Essentially, it seems it would be almost like going through your normal school day, but perhaps adding a few other activities to give them a more well-rounded experience. Although you stated you work nearly full-time so you’re not having a typical campus experience, it might be worth researching whether they have a program on your campus:

  56. I am impressed and how inspiring!. Congrats to you

  57. Hi Michelle,

    This is so inspiring. I am a Srilankan so the education system here is bit different. I did advanced levels here and while doing that I also did another professional course which allowed me to directly enter into the second year of B.Sc (Accounting) degree in many universities. but I was insane. I did not want to continue in a commerce related subject discipline and I started doing psychology. I am still 20 years. And in the 2nd year of my degree, thinking back, I still regret the decision I made to NOT do my accounting degree.
    I hope psychology works for me.. I do love it. But if I did accounting, I would only have to study 1 more year

  58. Elisha Kayne

    Wow! That is very impressive. I took a lot of AP courses in high school, but the cost of taking the exams was so expensive so I only took two. I wish someone would have slapped me then, lol. It’s a LOT more expensive to pay thousands of dollars for a college course with the same credits. That’s okay lesson learned for me, I homeschool my son, and I will make sure he takes as many AP exams as possible before enrolling in college. Hopefully we will keep his loans to a minimum or non-existent because of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I recommend looking into the dual enrollment program, which allows students (7th – 12th grade) to take college classes and receive college and high school credit for free. I receive free books and do not have to pay for classes. As a result of starting the dual enrollment program at 14 (freshman year), I will be graduating high school and college at 16 years old. Check out my blog,, which documents my experiences as I receive a high school diploma and Associate of Science degree in December of 2017.

  59. Victoria

    So glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! I’m currently finishing up my first year of college but I can’t wait to be done. I plan to graduate in 3 years with my bachelor’s in business administration. Unfortunately the way prerequisites work for some of the classes in my major, I can’t graduate any sooner than 3 years. However, I plan to go immediately straight to graduate school and get my MBA in 1 year. So instead of having my bachelor’s in 4 years, I’ll have my master’s. I haven’t made friends really but I don’t live on campus either. My family is from the same area as the college I’m attending, so I’m saving a boatload of money by living at home and just commuting. I’ve had so many people tell me this isn’t good and how I should be interacting with other students my age but my peers drive me crazy and annoy the heck out of me! The stereotypical college life isn’t me at all and I have no problem with not knowing people. I just don’t find too many people who understand this I guess because everyone thinks it’s odd that I don’t party and I’ve never had alcohol or done drugs. I know I’m not your average college student and I’m ok with it. It’s so nice hearing that I’m not the only one out there! 🙂

    1. Lauren

      Wow it’s so refreshing to finally find someone else like me! I’m also planning to graduate in three-ish (maybe more like 3.5) years with a business degree and I also commute from home. I am also indifferent to the social side of college. Idk about grad school yet. I don’t think I will need it but we’ll see I guess.

  60. Mar

    I graduated a year early as well. Ironically, I did everything you did! The only difference is because I didn’t decide I wanted to graduate early till my sophomore year, I ended up taking semesters of 21-30 credits. Ick. One thing to keep in mind is that you can also attend a community college and a university at the same time! This is how I was able to take that many classes without having to ask my university for permission. I missed out on stuff, but I definitely feel accomplished.

    Great post! 🙂


  61. When I lived in Canada, it took me 3 years to finish my undergrad but I do regret not taking summer courses to finish earlier. I could have probably finished in 2. I had friends who did it and went to grad school afterwards, finishing college + master in 4-5 years (some went to law school). That’s awesome! I received a full ride that required me to take 15 credits per semester (no summer). The free money really helped relieve money stress.

    1. Tessa

      Where did you get the free money from?

  62. Tessa

    How can I do the same? I wasted 3 years of college being an idiot and being lazy. I hate myself for it and now I finally understand the time and money I’ve wasted. I’m ready to work hard and I want to also get my bachelor’s but graduate on time. I’m 20 yr old political science (well, I haven’t declared it yet) major in my 3rd year second semester of college at a community college. Can you please please help me? What can I do? I feel so regretful and like an idiot. How can I graduate on time and owe little money back????

    1. Hello! You’re only 20, so you should not be panicking 🙂 Everything will be fine. Being at community college is a good idea because you can earn affordable college credits.

  63. Bink

    I also graduated in 2.5 years from undergrad while holding 2 part time jobs. It might sound crazy to some but my early 12 credit hour semester wasn’t easier than my later upper level 22 hour course load semester. I still studied the same amount of time. The highschool AP classes also helped. My only advice about graduating early is to make sure your grades don’t suffer as that could limit your possibilities later on. I am medical school now pursuing my dream to be a doctor but that wouldn’t have been possible if I had been a B or C student in those 2 and a half years.

  64. Shakila S

    I did this too! I didn’t graduate ‘early’. It still took me 4 years, but I had dealt with family issues, a complete change of major after 2.5 years of classes. I took AP courses in HS, evening classes to manage family responsibilities, and 21+ semesters. My Summer of 07′ I took a science loaded 18 credit double semester at Penn State. I could have graduated in 2 years if the sense to do this had hit me earlier. I rented my books or puppy-eyed my professors and borrowed their extra copies. I TA-ed, work-studied, worked, did paid research with class credit, and also picked up any opportunity to be paid to make sure Chemistry students didn’t cheat on their exams. Still managed to have fun and get good grades. Time & resource management is a great thing, indeed.

    1. Sounds like we have a pretty similar story! I did a major change, but luckily it was within the first semester. Also had major family issues back then, but I think that’s what made me focus so much on school and work.

  65. sarah

    hi know this is old, but i wanted to know with the 24 credits how did you managa studying for all those classes?

    1. It wasn’t easy, especially since I was working full-time as well. I didn’t sleep much back then, but I did manage to fit everything in.

      1. Sarah

        Oh okay, well i was asking in a way so i can get tips on how you studied for those 8 classes…

        1. My main way of studying was just to do that homework and read the textbooks 🙂 Is that what you mean?

          1. Sarah

            Yeah, since it’s 8 classes so it sounds like overload to remember everything for every subject during midterms. So i thought you would have tips on how you managed to remember what you studied. Also were these extra 4 classes electives? Or easy classes?

            1. It was towards the end of my college degree, so I’m going to assume that they were all required, tough classes. I can’t remember the classes were exactly.

              I didn’t do anything special to study, just what I had normally done (homework).

              1. Sarah

                Ohhhh ! I thought you did this every semester ( 24 ) credits till you got your degree!

                1. I think I did 2 semesters of 24 credits? And I then I did a few 21 credit semesters. I can’t remember exactly, though.

                  1. Sarah

                    Oh okay much better break down! Right now then I’m only gonna do 15-20. If i only do 15 then I will take a summer class and take another 15 . Then the following semester I’ll do 15-18 only instead to take some workload off. Do you remember if any of the few classes were electives ? Or were they all heavy load classes? That’s my last question

                    1. I’m sure some of them were electives because that’s just how college degrees are.

                  2. sarah

                    I know but you get to pick your classes, so if you didn’t want electives you wouldn’t do it unless you have to( i know some are mandatory). Well wish me luck hun i will be trying this out and summer semester this year

      2. Rose

        What was your day job during this time? Surely not a minimum wage job since you paid for a rental/living expenses and tuition? And qualified to buy a house as well? Thank you!

        1. It was just a few dollars above minimum wage for the each of us. We were not making very much money at the time.

  66. Asif Md. Imtiaz

    I would love to follow your footsteps. Your college life wasn’t wasted, but a one more rejoiced in my perspective.

  67. Rei

    You such an inspiration! Both of my daughters skip grades and their current school have this 11 grades program. (Yup, no grade 12. I don’t know why.)

    I hope they can take college classes in their 11th grade, so they won’t wasting time. My oldest one wants to be a dentist. It’s gonna be a long road for her but if she can get her bachelor faster that would be awesome.

  68. Vishal

    Which university were you in Michelle? And Good Job! I am planning to do the same!

  69. Tsering Lhamo

    Hi Michelle, I am wondering how to convert one’s college credits into bachelor credits? I got 90 overseas credits which is Diploma in hotel management. I earned around 58.5 credits in the United States. Please advise on this, that would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you

    1. My top tip would be to talk to the counselor at whatever school you go to.

  70. Justin Miner

    I had the same drive and determination as you did. Problem was, I was going in the wrong direction. Being busy is not the same as being productive. I’m 33, and only now I have the right business ideas and the right people in my life to help me succeed. I will be wealthy and fulfill many careers, but I wasted over a decade being busy with the wrong things. Now I am starting over. I will never go back to being busy doing unproductive things.

  71. Hi Michelle,
    Just came across your post and I am currently doing the exact same thing. I will be graduating with a double major in International Relations and Business in December of this year having been matriculated into school in September 2016. I was wondering if you can share your experiences after college with me since I have yet to figure out my next step.

  72. […] How I Graduated From College In 2.5 Years With 2 Degrees AND Saved $37,500 […]

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