The Bible warned me about temptation, sin and most bad things in the world, but it didn’t warn me about the hell of trying to graduate college in four years.
While I give my high school a lot of credit for preparing me for college, they didn’t give me a realistic view of what it would take to graduate. During all those glamorous presentations highlighting the benefits and miracles of going to college, no one told me that a four-year degree was a myth.
Now that I’m almost four years in, I realize that graduating on time is extremely difficult and universities need to do something about it.
Sure, it is possible to graduate in four years. It’s also possible to climb Mount Everest, but few people do it and a lot of people fail on the way.
Students end up spending extra time in college because of broken transfer credit policies, unavailable classes and unnecessary courses, according to a 2014 Complete College America study. Because of that, only 19 percent of full-time students end up graduating in four years, according to the study .
Specifically looking at SF State, less than 13 percent of the first-time freshman in 2007 ended up graduating in four years, according to the 2014 SF State Data Book. Of those freshmen, over 45 percent took six years to graduate.
I am currently on track to graduate on time because I’ve paid close attention to my requirements the past three years. Regardless, my graduation date’s still up in the air. I have a very rigid schedule that I need to follow and if I can’t get into one the classes I need, then I’m stuck. I’ll be here an extra semester and all the stress I’ve poured into my academic schedule will have been for nothing.
There shouldn’t be so much pressure for students to graduate on time, especially if they’ve followed their academic roadmap and done well in their classes.
If universities are going to continue being considered four-year schools, then there has to be changes so students can actually graduate on time. The Complete College report suggests increased advising and stricter academic roadmaps so students don’t end up taking unnecessary classes
These solutions are at least worth a shot. There’s already mandatory advising for many majors, but it couldn’t hurt to add a couple extra sessions. One early sessions in someone’s college career could prevent them from taking a class that would tack on an extra semester.
And if the school can charge everyone $90 a semester for a Wellness and Recreation Center that won’t even be built until most of the paying students have left, why can’t there be a fee to add a couple extra classes each semester? I know some of these tasks are easier said than done, but that shouldn’t stop the school from seeking a solution.
Even though I’m almost out of college, I’m still jealous of those leaving this semester. But they already put their four, five, six years in so they get to leave this purgatory-like campus first. While they get their degrees and ill-fitting gowns, I’ll prepare myself for another year of wondering if I’m unknowingly missing that one credit I’ll need to graduate.