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3 Tips to Help You Graduate Early (or At Least on Time!)

April 29th, 2010 Admin

Did you know that over the past few years, more and more students have been graduating “late”? It’s true–they’re taking more than the typical 4 years to graduate college, and you know what that means: extra years of studying, and extra years of tuition.

No thank you.

Wondering what’s going on? For many students its a combination of several factors, from difficulty wading through boring GEs to trouble getting in to their upper division courses to switching majors mid-way through college. Don’t get caught with a second Senior year! These 3 simple tips can help you make sure you graduate on schedule (or maybe even a little early!).

Cash in AP Credits

If you took AP courses in high school and passed the national exam with a 3 or above, you could earn college credit for those high school classes. Check out your school’s AP policy to see if you qualify, and make sure they received an official record of your test scores so you get your maximum course credits.

And once you’ve got those scores logged, don’t forget to make them count toward your GE requirements! My AP U.S. History score knocked two full classes off my GE requirements, so I only had to take one more history class to complete my GE history section. Don’t let those credits go to waste!

Make Time for Academic Advising

Even straight-A students need help understanding the ins and outs of college major requirements, so stop by your academic advisory office before you set up your classes for next semester. Your academic advisor can not only help you ensure you are on the fast track to your major, but also talk to you about opportunities like studying abroad or pursuing a minor. And they the inside track on classes, so if you’re having trouble getting in to a coveted upper division, your advisor may actually be able to help!

“Crash” Courses

Every quarter I signed up for 16 credits, plus one extra class (this gave the the freedom to drop one!). Sometimes that extra course was a “crash” class–one that had so many students already enrolled that I couldn’t be admitted without showing up to a few lectures and getting signed off by the professor. It takes a little extra work at the beginning of a quarter or semester, but most of the time I got into the class by the third or fourth class day–which meant I was able to fulfill my major requirements quickly, and rarely ended up taking a filler class instead of one I really needed.

If you are still having trouble after several crash days, don’t forget to pay your academic advisor a quick visit to see if he or she can help you get in!

These three tactics combined helped me graduate in under four years–which also let me get a jump on the job market as a new grad. Give them a try!

Good luck and happy studying. :)

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kim  |  April 29th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Some colleges don’t accept AP credits so if you’re shopping for one, check that out. Mine doesn’t and it was annoying. Also, it might let you skip a course but not count for any sort of requirement. Therefore, you’d still need to take another class to meet graduation requirements a lot of the time. Check out the college catalog to be sure.

  • 2. GradGRE  |  May 17th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Great point on utilizing your advisor. As an added bonus, a good relationship with your advisor can yield information or letters of recommendation for graduate school or the job market. He or she might even be able to get you into a research lab for a summer if you so desire.

  • 3. Vicki  |  May 21st, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Nothing beats good advising! Confirming that you’re on track – even if you’re sure that you are – can mean the difference between graduating on time, or early, and doing an extra semester because you missed some requirement. A good advisor can also point you toward some hidden gems of courses or instructors that you might miss otherwise.

  • 4. 3 Tips to Help You Gradua&hellip  |  July 1st, 2010 at 11:17 am

    […] These 3 simple tips can help you make sure you graduate on schedule (or maybe even a little early!). […]

  • 5. Surviving College Life &r&hellip  |  September 9th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    […] 3 Tips to Help You Graduate Early (or At Least on Time!) […]

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