How to Increase the Odds of Graduating in 4 Years

The odds of graduating in four years aren't good, but here are some tips to help increase your odds

Flickr user Shilad Sen

The stats are less than encouraging to look at. One study shows that nationally only 19% of full-time students at non-flagship schools earn their bachelor’s degrees within four years. Even at flagship and research schools the rate isn’t much better–36%. Yikes.

While attending college for more than four years is common, it also means paying extra tuition and cost of living expenses, which can weigh heavy on the wallet. Take a look below for advice on how to increase the odds of graduating on time.

Your odds of graduating increase if you take it seriously

While socializing and exploring extra curricular opportunities are an exciting part of college life, the primary purpose is receiving a quality education. Learning should be at the forefront of the mind for all students. As such, students should focus on their academics and take them seriously–which means no ditching class, no procrastinating on assignments, and studying hard.

Plan ahead

Colleges will have both general and major requirements in order for a student to graduate–these include things like general education courses, a certain number of credit hours, and even mandatory courses. Plan accordingly. Meeting with academic advisors regularly can help ensure that a student is on track to graduate by monitoring requirements and signing up for the right classes. Aim for 15 credit hours per semester and keep the courses balanced in your college schedule.

Avoid transferring

About one third of students transfer at some point in their college career. Unfortunately, when a student transfers not all of their hard-earned credit goes with them. Students often have to repeat classes to check off major requirements for their new school. This usually means that a student has to enroll beyond four years in order to complete everything.

Take college-credit courses in high school

Many high schools offer dual-credit courses–in which the student earns both high school and college credit simultaneously. These college-level classes result in transferable credit towards an institute of higher learning. The high school classes are cheaper than their collegian counterparts, require no additional exams, and are a great way to get a head start.

To find the right college fit for you, use College Raptor’s match tool!

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