Avoid the 6-Year Plan
One study showed that tacking an additional two years onto the college experience can raise the overall price tag by 70%.
Did you know?
- Only 19% of full-time college students at public universities graduate in 4 years.
- Only 36% of full-time students at selective “flagship” universities graduate in 4 years.
- Only 50 of over 580 universities can say that the majority of their students graduate by their 4th year.
- The benchmark used by education policy experts for graduation rates is now 6 years for undergrad degrees.
The reasons vary, from:
1/ Students taking too few credits each semester
2/ Losing credits in transferring from one college to another
3/ Not being able to register for the classes needed
4/ Taking too many classes unrelated to their chosen degree
With the skyrocketing costs involved, each additional year can cost tens of thousands of dollars. One study showed that tacking an additional two years onto the college experience can raise the overall price tag by 70%. Most scholarships and financial aid only cover 8 semesters, so extending your time beyond that can add a crippling amount of expense!
Source: According to a report from Complete College America.
How to Stay on Track and Avoid the 6-Year Plan:
Chart your Course
Course selection is key! Make sure to meet with your advisor at least once per semester so that you can be sure you’re taking the required courses in a timely manner.
Choose your College Carefully
Consider your major and what you need from a school rather than where your friends are going or who has the best on-campus dining options! Sometimes transferring is unavoidable, but take extra care to choose the right school from the start since transferring will likely cost you credits. TIP: Chose a school that has your top 3 major studies.
The Bare Necessities
If you can afford the occasional “fun” course that won’t count toward your degree, then go for it. If money is a major factor, as it is for most students, you may want to rethink Weightlifting 101. Consider the cost per credit hour and ask yourself if you would pay that rate outside of a college setting.
**Most scholarships and financial aid only cover 8 semesters, so extending your time beyond that can add a crippling amount of expense!
Thinking of Summer Classes at Community College?
One way to catch up (or even get ahead) in your quest to graduate in four years might be to consider taking a class or two at your local community college over the summer break. This can be a great idea to avoid the 6-year plan, but first, make sure that you consider the following points:
Will they transfer? Check with your school to make sure they will actually give you credit for the course. Some schools require completion of their major and science classes and will only give elective credit (and who wants to take Biology twice?!).
Summer classes are shorter which sounds great, but remember that it also means the pace will be faster since you will be covering the same amount of material in less time.
Don’t overdo it. Most summer courses meet for 3-5 days a week, sometimes for several hours, over the 3-6 week semester. Make sure you take this into consideration if you plan to take multiple classes, especially if you plan to work over the summer as well!