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Meeting Graduation Requirements on Time (or Early!)


Most universities require 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree, which averages out to 15 credits a semester, for eight semesters. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, especially for students taking a semester abroad or fewer than 15 credits. Too often students must take more semesters than planned due to factors including switching majors, unfulfilled degree requirements, and unavailable courses due to limited seats. Staying on track to complete your degree is essential to save on tuition costs and start on your career path.

How to Achieve Your Graduation Goals

  • Be involved! Don’t take a back seat to your own education. Knowing your degree requirements and when you should take them is already a huge step in the right direction. Be able to personally ensure your future isn’t in jeopardy by checking that you’ve taken all the classes required. Most degree requirements should be readily available through your college’s website.
  • Meet with your advisers early! You can figure out what classes to take at any time instead of waiting till the week of class selection. This avoids the hassle of waiting for an appointment and possibly missing out on classes due to limited seats. Alumni and upperclassmen are great resources if you are struggling to meet with an adviser – especially if they went through the same degree program as you.
  • Build a long-term plan and alternate plans! When classes are filling up, you may not get your first choices, so it’s important to have a backup plan. To avoid having to retake classes, discuss options with your professors and use resources including tutoring and help rooms. You can also take transferable credits at a local community college over the summer.

    Graduating Early

    With student loan debt at an all-time high and tuition consistently rising, you might be looking for unique ways to lower the cost of college. Graduating early not only lowers the price tag of your degree but also accelerates your ability to enter the workforce. This provides huge monetary benefit if you can secure employment right out of college, but this is not the case for every student. Graduating later gives you more time to build up your resume and experiences before application season.

    If you’re unable to qualify for loans, it can be advantageous to work through college to afford living expenses. It’s important to weigh if being a part-time student is worth it for you. When attending college somewhere living expenses are high, the faster you can graduate and move somewhere affordable, the better.

    Other Factors to Consider

    Be aware that moving up in class standing at some universities costs more money. If you’re moving up in standing while not planning on graduating early, you may be increasing your loan burden with no real benefit. This is a common occurrence for students who are bringing in college credits from high school. Only take the max number of credits per semester that is manageable for you. Don’t take 18 credits if you think it could result in you failing a class or jeopardizing your mental health.

    Changing majors late in your degree program tends to be a big setback for college students. If you’re unsure about your major, try to spend your initial years completing the university’s general education requirements so you can seamlessly transition into a possible major change. Additional courses and minors are a great way to pursue education in subjects that don’t fall under your major. But it’s important to evaluate if these are truly worth the cost when operating on a budget. There may be an alternative way to build those same skills and knowledge without the student loan price tag.

    Ultimately your educational journey is determined by what you as a student value and require to succeed. If graduating early will make you miss out on valuable opportunities and experiences, maybe that extra debt is a necessary steppingstone to the future.


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Content By: Ever Green