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To Improve School Success, Be Mindful of Academic Program Deadlines

To Improve School Success, Be Mindful of Academic Program Deadlines

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Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

By Emily Ludeman
Senior Academic Advisor, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, American Public University

Like brick-and-mortar universities, APUS academic programs have a set time limit for completion. That time limit begins with enrollment in the first class.

For example, certificate programs have a three-year time limit for the completion of all classes. Associate and master’s degrees have a seven-year deadline and bachelor degrees have a 10-year deadline.

A time limit encourages persistence; it holds students accountable for their academic progress. The deadline also ensures that the courses and program content offered are relevant to the industry field and educational standards.

Allowing Enough Time to Complete Academic Programs

While 10 years seems generous for a traditional four-year program, life has a way of throwing curveballs. As a result, that length of time is allowed for bachelor’s programs at APUS so that students have sufficient time to study while attending to their career and family responsibilities.

When a student is within a year of his or her program deadline, online registration is temporarily blocked. The student and academic advisor then discuss the impending deadline policy, develop a plan for degree completion and review the need for an extension if necessary.

Program Extensions May Be Permitted if Needed

Students can receive an extension for up to 25 percent of their total program length:

  • Nine months for certificates
  • One year and nine months for associate and master’s degrees
  • Two years and six months for bachelor degrees

Considerations for Completing an Academic Program by Its Deadline

Students face several considerations when they near a program deadline. For example, students should:

  • Make a realistic completion plan that allows for success. Students who are unsure if a program extension is the right course of action for them can work with an academic advisor to explore their options and sign up online for a program extension if needed. Classroom experience and program progress will be taken into account in determining whether an extension will lead to a successful program completion.
  • Account for catalog changes in certificates or degree plans. Some programs in the 2008 catalog will be different from those in the 2018 catalog. Students who are within two years of graduation should check the latest catalog to keep abreast of required courses they still need to obtain their degree.

However, keeping current might mean losing some credits for courses that no longer apply toward degree completion. So it is essential that students work with an academic advisor to determine whether an extension is needed for academic program completion.

Reenrollment after the Program Completion Deadline

Students whose program deadlines have expired or who are disenrolled due to academic inactivity must use the current requirements of their academic program when they re-enroll. An advisor can determine whether re-enrolling students are eligible to appeal that policy and assist them in a quick update of the current catalog requirements.

Regardless of a student’s situation, the APUS team of academic advisors is here to support students and help them successfully complete their academic programs. Our advisors can provide all students with clear guidance on the best path to graduation.

Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

About the Author

Emily Ludeman has worked in the Academic Advising Department at APU since 2010. Previously, Emily was an advisor in the Residential and Commuter Life Office at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and leadership from Longwood and a master’s degree in public administration from APU.

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