Graduating on time does not have to be a struggle

Let’s tell the truth, almost no one gets their bachelor’s degree in four years anymore.

That’s why super seniors exist, college students who take five or more years to complete their “four-year degree.” 

And what can anyone expect when you can’t expand an 168-hour week, and have an essential need to sleep.

According to the University, more than 80 percent of SF State students take classes full time, a minimum of 12 units each semester. Three units can mean up to nine hours per week of outside class work. For 12 units that’s up to 36 hours a week of homework, and about 10 hours of class time.

That leaves only 122 hours of free time a week. Get a part-time job, subtract 30 hours, and all that is left is about 13 hours a day. Take away the eight hours of suggested sleep, and you’re left with five hours to eat, be merry and get the required reading done on the toilet.

Too bad for the students who have to commute.

If the CSU system could lower tuition, then maybe the part-time job could be subtracted.

The recent 22 percent tuition increase doesn’t make anything easier or faster for anyone on a college schedule.

Each semester, students cram into classes to see if they can even get a seat in their major courses. Unable to get those classes, students often end up taking classes that don’t pertain to their degree paths just to meet the minimum units to maintain residency and financial aid benefits.

In 2010, of the 2,649 classes offered, more than half had more than 30 students, according to University 2010-2011 class data set. 

More students pack into the classroom as the number of professors lowers.

From 1991 to 2010 the percentage of tenure-tracked professors in the CSU system dropped by 14.2 percent.

Yet the number of students in CSUs has only dropped by about one percent.

With so many students in class, maybe the system can just skip faculty in the classroom altogether and we can start teaching each other.

One out of 30 plus students should know the ancient history of Mesopotamia.

Or not.

The super senior label seems to fit just right because facing more than four years these challenges does create a type of academic superstar.

Here are some tips to quicker graduation from the Xpress seniors:

-Freshmen: Get your GEs out of the way but have a clear plan as to what your major and minors are so that the classes you choose all have an impact on your ability to graduate faster.

– If you’re unsure of what you want your major to be, take classes at community colleges while figuring it out to save money. We no longer are afforded the leisure of being able to take classes just because.
– If you know what you want your major to be, declare it early. Sometimes majors change from one year to another, and often include adding extra classes.
– If you have questions about your major, your department chair is your best bet.
– Check, double check and triple check your University bulletin. It will act as a road map to your next few years in college. Follow the guidelines exactly, making sure to check pre requisites and exactly how many of each categorized classes you need so you’re not taking too many or registering for something you are not eligible for.
– Prioritize classes. Don’t assume that no one will sign up for something you really need. Other students are scrambling just as much as you are and that boring class you figured would get overlooked will probably be full by your next registration date. If you are having trouble deciding on a hierarchy of classes to register for, start planning for the next semester so you can get a picture of what classes are urgent and others that can be pushed around.
– Students to get their segment III classes to also fulfill  requirements for their majors or minors at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone.
– If transferring, check which classes carry over. Look at www.assist.org for help.
– Take every exemption test you can. They cost between $20-30 and can get you out of taking a three-unit class. http://www.sfsu.edu/~testing/tests.html
– If you have the luxury of picking between different professors for the same class, check out www.ratemyprofessor.com for reviews. It’s a lot easier to make it through a semester when you like the person teaching you.
Submit your tips to www.goldengatexpress.org.

Latest comment
  • Even when streamlining classes, it will still take many students more than five years to graduate. We live in a world where we have more responsibilities in life than in other generations. School is more expensive even with Financial aid and no big increases to that are seen on the horizon. Additionally, disabled students tend to suffer the most as they have to take classes that fit their disabilities and many times even this is not enough. Additionally, having to take four pre-requisites for one class is ridiculous and only adds to the conundrum of many students. Moreover, many students are unaware of exceptions to the written rule of what is in the bulletin and the process for this can be confusing.