On-time Graduation: Myth or Reality?
by Max Basaraba
When a student enters a college he expects to graduate in 4 years, cap ‘n gown, with a degree. These expectations are laid out by a common set of rules and visions. Entering the college/university is an exciting event, perhaps one of the most exciting in one’s life. It's only natural then that the euphoria from this keeps one in the dark. Thinking about graduation at this stage seems to be jumping the gun. However there are a few important areas this question may impact:
- Getting into the workforce. The longer a person stays in college, the later he/she will get the job. With each semester a person feels less confident, seeing their friends starting their careers.
- Gaining experience. The later you get the job, the less experience you'll get. Imagine the situation when you have to hire a person and you have to choose between two people of the same age and same opportunities, but one of them has two years of internship in your sphere and another one has just graduated. The choice here is obvious.
- College spending will go beyond the budget. Each semester adds more to the costs spent on the college. The sum is tremendous even when a student manages to graduate on time. Additional terms make a noticeable impact on the expenses. Extra time needed toward a degree equates to extra money needed to fund the education.
“Nah. That's not gonna happen to me,” you think. Ok then, let's take a look look at some numbers. According to Complete College America, only 5% of full-time students complete an Associate’s degree in 2 years (on-time) and 19-36% (depending on the type of school) of full-time students complete their 4-year degree in four years (on-time). Of 580 public 4-year institutions in the U.S., only 50 had more than 50% of their students graduating on-time.
Not to get into the trap of endless studying, you should understand the reasons as to why this is happening and why it may happen to you in particular.
- A student may lose a lot of credits during a transfer. If you're switching colleges, the requirements of credits for the same degree may differ from college to college. The credits you gained previously may boil down to jack and squat for your new college.
- Critical courses may be unavailable when you need them. There is a set of credits required for attaining a particular degree. You may count on getting into a course, but it won't be available at the same term, when you actually need it. This would mean you’ll have to wait around for another term to get it.
- Sometimes students don't take enough credits to get their degree on time. A student may be burnt out from the previous term and decide to take less credits for the next term. However this may cause low credit accumulation and prolongation of studying.
- Also some colleges may require excessive credits, which naturally would require more time to acquire.
- Plenty of students have to combine a part-time job with studying. Working since college usually helps gain discipline, ta useful network and relevant experience. Not to mention additional money is never a bad thing. However work requires time. And to combine work with studying, many students sacrifice their time away from hitting the books.
Even though the circumstances are different for every person, there are things which could be done to anticipate the risks. It's all about planning. Prepler handles all the planning for you. It takes all the courses, analyzes what’s required for a student's degree, calculates the amount of credits, and then suggests the best options and alternatives. Prepler works as a tailored solution for effective studying.
Well, yes, on-time graduation could be reality nowadays. However it's your choice as to whether you want to consider it a hypothetical possible situation, or a myth.