When I lived outside the city, I had a neighbor who had taken nine years to earn a B.A. She had started school, gotten married, began having children—then her life started rapidly moving in other directions.
But somehow, she marshaled all her resources, and finished nine years after she’d started.
Staying the Course
Persisting to graduation isn’t always easy. Many students lack maturity and self-discipline, and sometimes school itself is part of the problem. Some colleges have lower graduation rates than non-graduation rates. Perhaps they don’t have enough supports in place for students, or the students don’t know about them.
5 Tips to Getting Through College Faster
This excerpt below from a Hechinger Report post, written by someone who took 15 years to earn a B.A., offers five tips to graduating on time.
- Choose wisely. With the plethora of course, program, and degree choices available, students need to be diligent in selecting a curriculum and an institution that best suits their desires, abilities, time, and financial constraints. Make use of advising systems.
- Avoid multiple school transfers and only take required courses. Use all available advising resources to map out a plan of the EXACT courses needed to fulfill the degree requirements, and plan school transfers carefully to ensure the transfer of as many credits as possible.
- Take a fuller (but not too full) course load. Ree’shemah Thornton, interim assistant vice president at San Francisco State University, encourages students to take a minimum of 15 units per semester as one way of helping to increase the on-time graduation rate. But be careful not to fall into the trap I did, of over-enrolling in classes.
- Prioritize school over work. While paying bills and earning income are important, don’t let it supplant educational goals. Data in “Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates,” a report by the nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, illustrates that degree completion rates (for two, four, and six years) are highly affected by “enrollment intensity.” Most students who only attend part-time are less likely to graduate on time or at all.
- Consider the cheapest option first. A report by the nonprofit College Board, “Trends in College Pricing 2016,” shows a median price of nearly $10,000 per year for a public four-year institution, so there’s a financial incentive for students to attend more economically priced community colleges, especially in California. The Golden State has the lowest annual cost in the nation for two-year institutions at $1,430, despite a 20% tuition fee increase over the past five years.
Read more at the Hechinger Report.