Planning for graduation is one of the most important things a college student has to do. Although the average graduation takes place after four years, some of us still want to shorten the process. In reality, there are students who finished their college study within three years or even less. However, should we try for an earlier graduation and when should we do it? Sarah Clarkson, director of academic support Services and lecturer in English, explains further:
What are the advantages of an earlier graduation?
First and foremost, graduating earlier saves you money. It’s the biggest advantage. It also saves time, especially if you took some gap years before entering college.
For students who are successful in graduating earlier, I think it’s also one of the most valuable challenges in their lives. An earlier graduation requires students have strong time management skills, self-motivation, self-confidence, very good academic performance and an ability to deal with stress and other problems as well.
How about the down points?
Why do most of colleges offer students a four-year education?
I think the answer is that it’s the perfect amount of time for students to learn useful skills, make friends, develop their own network and learn needed knowledge for their future career.
It reduces your chance of taking various courses to figure out which POE you want to be in. It’s also hard for a student planning on an earlier graduation to study abroad. You need a very tight schedule for an earlier graduation. You have to take many classes and sometimes, can’t drop out any of them. Thus, you have less time for other social activities. Taking many classes also means that you have to face a heavy amount of work. At some point, you may feel it’s overwhelming, stressful and extremely hard to do well on all these classes.
When should I plan on an earlier graduation?
When you are strongly determined and very clear about your plan! You must know what you want to study, which courses you have to take. Most importantly, you must know yourself very well. Why do I have to graduate earlier? What do I have to give up? Is it worth? How about my academic performance? Can I deal with stress? Can I really take all of those classes? If so, can I do well? Answer these questions before planning on an earlier.
I’d like to say that unless you already have some credits or it’s an unavoidable situation, you should enjoy your four years in college. A lot of students had more than 120 credits when they graduated; it’s because they wanted to have time with friends and fully experience college life.
Where can I seek help in case I want to graduate earlier?
First, you should go to our college’s website, The Arch to find out graduation requirements then make your own plan. If you are already clear about you plan, come to talk with your advisers. You also get very useful information about summer schools, internship to get credits counted for your graduation. Ask older students about courses and relevant information as well.
Do you have any advice for students who have second thoughts about graduating earlier?
Think carefully before you make any decision because college is time of your life.
~Thanh Nguyen’ 14, Juniata Online Journalist