The Six-Year Four-Year Degree

A mere 40% of undergraduates actually graduate in four years. And only 60% do so in six. While there are myriad reasons for the prolonged path toward bachelor’s degrees, with the high cost of college tuition and fees, graduating on time can provide substantial savings. Here are a few tips for getting through in four years:

  • Test Out If offered at your high school, take AP classes. Take AP tests soon thereafter to maximize your chances to get college credit.

  • Be Ready To Go Not every student has the level of maturity or the academic foundation to start college right after high school. Those that need more time to ready themselves either socially or academically should consider taking a gap year or starting at a 2-year college.

  • Take A Full Course Load Once you’re there, take as many courses as you can handle each semester. In order to earn the necessary 120 credits within four years, students should endeavor to take a full 15 credit hours each semester.

  • Limit Major-Hopping While we believe that college is a time for students to explore, it’s a good idea to choose a major as early as possible and commit. Also, be aware that declaring a minor or taking a double major will likely extend a student’s college stay.

  • Take Required Courses When They’re Offered Most colleges require students to take General Education courses. Particularly at state schools where budgets are tight, GE classes may be cut back and not be available every semester, so take them when they're offered.

  • Make School Job #1 College is certainly about socializing and many students need to balance work as well, but keep your eye on the prize—the focus is school, and the goal, a timely graduation.

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