Long ago a student working towards their bachelor’s degree was able to earn it in four years. But nowadays, it typically takes about five years. This prolonged graduation time is due to a number of different factors, including being enrolled as a part-time student because of work, switching majors mid college-career, and wanting to purposely stall graduation so that you don’t have to face the real world. Whatever the case, that extra fifth year means extra tuition money and more time studying for tests. To learn how to get out of school in four years or less, continue reading below.
If you are still in high school, you want to make sure that you enroll in Advanced Placement classes. Not only will taking these classes look good on college applications, but if you take AP exams and pass with a score of a 3 or higher, you can claim credit in college. These credits will not only save you thousands of dollars but most importantly time. This is because your AP credits will allow you to skip introductory education courses (such as lower level English and history) and allow you to go straight to upper division courses. Just make sure that you actually claim your credits and fill out the proper forms (your college of choice will not automatically claim the credit for you even if your scores are sent to their offices). The credits you claim will not count towards your GPA. You have up to 10 years to claim your credits.
To graduate in four years or less you also need to make sure that you enroll as a full-time student. This means registering for four classes (or 12 credit-hours). But sometimes that’s not even enough. Typically, most students are recommended to register for five classes (15 credit-hours). If you think that the coursework will be too intense for you to handle, then it is highly recommended that you consider summer school and winter-mini semesters to compensate the loss time.
Lastly, it’s important that you pay close attention to your degree requirements and make sure that you are taking the right classes. You don’t want to end up wasting precious time and money taking a class that doesn’t count. A good way to make sure that you’re on the right track is to see if your school has an electronic degree audit reporting system. This system will display which classes you have completed and which ones you still need to complete to earn your degree. Another excellent way to check your status is to simply make frequent visits to your academic adviser. He or she will be able to make sure you’re on a good route and might even be able to suggest some neat classes come registration time.