Once a week I try to review some book related to college in order to lend some guidance to a field that has become completely overrun. So many people are writing test guides and college guides that it is easy to buy a book that is not useful and that will be occupying space on your shelf for years unused.
When I first heard of Accelerated Distance Learning by Brad Voeller, I was amazed, and a little skeptical. Is it really possible to get a degree at home and at a faster pace? It is hard enough to get a degree in the normal four years. Wouldn’t it be impossible to get a degree in two years or less? After reading through the book, however, I became entirely convinced. Distance learning, even accelerated distance learning, is possible. And, what’s more, this book will help you (almost) every step of the way.
Who is Brad Voeller?
In a word, “amazing”. Although his book begins, “I’ve never considered myself as being exceptionally smart…”, Brad Voeller earned his four-year, fully-accredited degree in less than six months and for less than $5,000 dollars! But wait, it gets better. His book will show you how to do the same! His book’s whole point is that anyone, no matter what their “IQ”, can do it. The key to successful learning is determination.
This book is separated into five parts. Part one explains the idea of “accelerated distance learning”, part two explains credit earning methods, part three shows how to learn faster, part four shows how to make your degree completion plan, and part five brings everything together and explains what is next. Each part is made up of various chapters, breaking the process into simple, do-able steps. Each chapter is filled with so much information that it is impossible to learn it all the first time. This is a book that I have read over and over.
This book also has a number of enjoyable “seasonings” or extras. One of my favorite features is the sidebar. The sidebar runs throughout the book and includes summaries of the text, quick tips, review questions, and (my favorite) applicable quotes. I love history, and quick, useful sayings by historical figures never fail to interest me. For example, in the chapter on portfolio assessment (earning credit for past experience) he inserts a quote by Huxley, “Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.”
In addition to the eye-catching sidebar, Brad Voeller sprinkles personal anecdotes throughout the book. I have always enjoyed a good story and have found that true stories are much more enjoyable than fictional stories. Therefore, I am always pleased to find personal stories included in a nonfiction book. One of my only criticisms for his book is the amount of personal anecdotes…I would prefer that he included a few more.
A Practical Guidebook
Without a doubt, Accelerated Distance Learning is an excellent road map, helping you to your degree. Many other books on the topic of distance learning are too vague and do not show exactly what to do. Brad Voeller, however, explains the details. Included in his book are websites, addresses, and other useful contact information. For example, instead of just explaining what a CLEP test is, he lists the CLEP test provider’s address, email, and even phone! This 250 page book will tell you everything you need to know about getting a degree through distance learning.