Graduating College in 4 Years

why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major

I’ve known kids around here who graduate college in 2.5 years. They do a program starting in high school called Running Start and by the time they enter college they are already basically sophomores.

Yes, honestly I think it will take you more than 4 years. Stick with it though.

Well, if you look at a lot of majors they require something like 120 credit hours, sometimes up to 128 (I think engineering at my school is 128). For 120, that’s an average of 15 credit hours a semester, or roughly 5 courses. Depending on your major, that’s either easily doable or almost impossible. For example, majors like engineering are time intensive and difficult. Doing 15-16 hours a semester is a TON of work, and a lot of people get overwhelmed with this. The only people I know who do 15+ hours a semester as engineering are ones who take 3-4 actual engineering classes then 1-2 “fluff” classes, or basically the classes like history and art appreciation that my college requires to make their students more “well rounded”. On the flip side, I’ve known plenty of English majors who have graduate in 4 years, with plenty of electives to choose from. I don’t believe their college requires as many credit hours, and their classes are not as time intensive. So taking 15-18 is much more manageable usually.

That’s assuming you don’t change majors ever. If you do, a lot of times some credits will not count towards your degree. So if you change majors 2 years in, and “lose” 15, you lost one semester. Depending on what the major switch was, you could lose more. For example, if you switch to engineering, almost all of your work from whatever major you were previous does not count for anything. Meaning, you pretty much restart. Unless your major made you take basic chemistry, physics, and some math classes. This is because engineering (at least at my school) has basically 128 credits of “engineering” coursework, and no electives. However, switching from engineering to another college usually doesn’t set you back as far. Most colleges allow electives, and whatever classes you took for your major a lot of times can transfer as electives. That means you don’t have “free classes” to choose now, but at least you’re not set back too much.

I don’t know how long it will take you. From what I know of criminal justice, it is not considered one of the more time intensive majors so I would say you could do it in 4 years. Pay attention to your academic plan (not just next semester, but look ahead 4, 5+ semesters) and see how many credits you would need to take each semester to graduate. Have a plan, and talk to your academic advisor about it early. Look into taking a summer class or two each summer, at least for the first summer or 2. If you take summer classes, it gets much easier to graduate early. In one summer I got 12 credits done, which is almost a normal semester of work for me.

Number 1 reason… laziness

You can get done in 4 years, but it requires careful planning and sticking to your plan.

Most students either change majors, drop classes only to have to re-take them at a later time, or fail/get a low grade in a class and have to re-take it again. Any of these things is likely to extend your time in college, since it probably will require you to deviate from your 4 year plan.

Why do you need a 4 year plan? Because depending on the major, you have set classes you have to take, and if those classes are only offered 1 semester a year, and require certain prerequisites that are also only offered once a year, you better have which classes you are taking when figured out ahead of time.

[quote]staystrong wrote:
Well, if you look at a lot of majors they require something like 120 credit hours, sometimes up to 128 (I think engineering at my school is 128). For 120, that’s an average of 15 credit hours a semester, or roughly 5 courses. Depending on your major, that’s either easily doable or almost impossible. For example, majors like engineering are time intensive and difficult. Doing 15-16 hours a semester is a TON of work, and a lot of people get overwhelmed with this. The only people I know who do 15+ hours a semester as engineering are ones who take 3-4 actual engineering classes then 1-2 “fluff” classes, or basically the classes like history and art appreciation that my college requires to make their students more “well rounded”. On the flip side, I’ve known plenty of English majors who have graduate in 4 years, with plenty of electives to choose from. I don’t believe their college requires as many credit hours, and their classes are not as time intensive. So taking 15-18 is much more manageable usually.

That’s assuming you don’t change majors ever. If you do, a lot of times some credits will not count towards your degree. So if you change majors 2 years in, and “lose” 15, you lost one semester. Depending on what the major switch was, you could lose more. For example, if you switch to engineering, almost all of your work from whatever major you were previous does not count for anything. Meaning, you pretty much restart. Unless your major made you take basic chemistry, physics, and some math classes. This is because engineering (at least at my school) has basically 128 credits of “engineering” coursework, and no electives. However, switching from engineering to another college usually doesn’t set you back as far. Most colleges allow electives, and whatever classes you took for your major a lot of times can transfer as electives. That means you don’t have “free classes” to choose now, but at least you’re not set back too much.

I don’t know how long it will take you. From what I know of criminal justice, it is not considered one of the more time intensive majors so I would say you could do it in 4 years. Pay attention to your academic plan (not just next semester, but look ahead 4, 5+ semesters) and see how many credits you would need to take each semester to graduate. Have a plan, and talk to your academic advisor about it early. Look into taking a summer class or two each summer, at least for the first summer or 2. If you take summer classes, it gets much easier to graduate early. In one summer I got 12 credits done, which is almost a normal semester of work for me.[/quote]

Agreed, seems like alot of people go to college just to “go to college” cause it’s just what you’re supposed to do after high school. I think this is the wrong attitude and you end up with “undecided” majors or people switching majors, wasting time and money. Better off to have the attitude of getting a certain degree like engineering and go to college to achieve that goal.
That way things like summer school help you get to that goal faster. Even taking one class over the summer helps so much. BTW, you can even take summer classes before you start as freshmen.

Also I’ve known plenty of people that just want to hang out and put off adulthood and spend well over 4 years getting liberal arts degrees, psychology, etc because they are really easy and they end up with tons of free time. But they are prob the ones that will end up complaining they can’t get a job even with “a degree” because of the economy…

Hey, I’m a Sophomore at Vanderbilt doing ME and easily on track to graduate on time. I had 30ish AP hours to bring in, so that definitely helped. I could (hours wise) graduate a year early, but there’s courses that I have to take that I cannot take until I take its prereqs so I’m staying here the full four years.

Honestly, it’s not difficult to graduate on time. As long as you don’t screw around, don’t fail out of classes (…even though maybe once or twice is fine), and study, you will have no problem. The kids here that don’t do well almost always do poorly as a result of their poor lifestyle choices.

General rule of thumb when planning course load- Expect to study or do course work for at least as many hours outside the classroom as you spend in it. A professor told me that for the more major specific stuff- make it 4x. So, 3 credit class= about 12 hrs. homework/week.

For me it turned out to be dead on.

[quote]staystrong wrote:

That’s assuming you don’t change majors ever. If you do, a lot of times some credits will not count towards your degree. So if you change majors 2 years in, and “lose” 15, you lost one semester. Depending on what the major switch was, you could lose more.

…[/quote]

That’s what happened to me.

Switched from Biology to Economics the 2nd semester of my sophomore year.

I took 15+ hour course loads each full semester, and full summer course loads (12 hours), until I graduated for the next 2 years.

Took me 4.5 years and that’s with some of the biology stuff carrying over.

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]
Most people don’t know what they really want before college. They will switch majors once or twice at least, sometimes a couple years into it.

Then there are the ones who are just stupid or lazy.

And also colleges don’t want you to graduate in 4 years. The longer you’re there the more of your money they can take. Know this, and be sure each year you have a solid course load with a clear plan to be on track to finish everything in your 4th year.

I was a CJ major (minor in economics) and graduated from a big Southern school in 4.5 years with honors. I’m now a detective for a large department. I did this while being in the Air Force Reserves. It’s not difficult at all.

Enroll in 15 hours in the Fall and Spring. If you have a bad professor, are struggling in a course, or the schedule sucks, DROP THAT CLASS, and complete the semester with 12 hours. Do the same every Fall and Spring. Now here is the key: ALWAYS enroll in summer courses. ALWAYS. They are taught by graduate assistants who generally are a tad more lenient, and are more understanding about working with you. Take FULL TIME summer classes. Some of the classes people struggle in like chemistry, these are MUCH easier to take rather than from some aloof professor. It’s like taking them from a Jr. college. LOL. By taking summer classes, this will make up for the classes that you drop during the Fall and Spring (to graduate in 4 years, I think you need to pass in 15 hours each semester).

This is how you do it.

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]

Depends on what you go to school for. If you’re going for a cereal box degree, there should be no excuse. However, these degrees attract the lazy/party types so thats why they take 4+ yrs to finish.

If you go for a worthwhile degree like I did, 5 yrs is average (only one or two kids did it in 4 yrs in my group), even the diligent students who graduated with 3.8+ GPA took 5 yrs to get their Mechanical Engineering degree.

when you start to enroll in classes like Calc II, Diff EQ, and multivariable Calc, WHILE still having super demanding Engineering courses that are only 3 credits (when they are really more like 4 or 5 credit classic when you consider the weight of the material and the amount of it) you can easily begin to see why graduating in 4 yrs is a daunting task.

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]

It’s not that hard to graduate in 4 years, unless it is a very structured program (in other words, in highly structured majors certain classes are only offered in the fall or spring, so if you get a bad grade you have to wait an entire year to retake the class)…or if the major is very very competitive or demanding. Still, if you’re a dedicated student you can do it in 4 years in most majors, even hard ones.

Outside of that #1 reason is laziness, #2 is changing majors. There’s no point in getting an education in something that you aren’t going to enjoy working in OR that isn’t going to get you a good chance at a good paying job when you graduate. So if you find out that a certain major isn’t exactly what you thought it would be going into college–and it happens a lot honestly–then change majors. I do not advise sticking to something ill-suited to you or with very little potential after graduation. That also sometimes adds time to your years in college when you switch because of different class requirements or prerequisites you haven’t taken yet.

I did take the 5 year undergraduate path, on purpose, and I found it much more enjoyable. However I did not need to, and I will attribute the fact that I did it this way to my desire to have more of a social life. Of course in this case I knew I was going to be in school for graduate degree studies anyway, so it wasn’t a huge problem for me.

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
I was a CJ major (minor in economics) and graduated from a big Southern school in 4.5 years with honors. I’m now a detective for a large department. I did this while being in the Air Force Reserves. It’s not difficult at all.

Enroll in 15 hours in the Fall and Spring. If you have a bad professor, are struggling in a course, or the schedule sucks, DROP THAT CLASS, and complete the semester with 12 hours. Do the same every Fall and Spring. Now here is the key: ALWAYS enroll in summer courses. ALWAYS. They are taught by graduate assistants who generally are a tad more lenient, and are more understanding about working with you. Take FULL TIME summer classes. Some of the classes people struggle in like chemistry, these are MUCH easier to take rather than from some aloof professor. It’s like taking them from a Jr. college. LOL. By taking summer classes, this will make up for the classes that you drop during the Fall and Spring (to graduate in 4 years, I think you need to pass in 15 hours each semester).

This is how you do it.[/quote]

This is also a very big possibility and good advice. The typical “wash-out” classes can sometimes be taken in the summer with more time to ask questions and smaller class sizes. Sometimes however, you just need to work hard–I know many people who complained about chemistry being hard but didn’t really decide to work at getting good grades in it. Of course the opposite is also true, there are some shitty classes you struggle with no matter how hard you work.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]
Most people don’t know what they really want before college. They will switch majors once or twice at least, sometimes a couple years into it.

Then there are the ones who are just stupid or lazy.

And also colleges don’t want you to graduate in 4 years. The longer you’re there the more of your money they can take. Know this, and be sure each year you have a solid course load with a clear plan to be on track to finish everything in your 4th year.[/quote]

These are all good reasons to start out in a community college.

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]

I studied in Germany and got my bachelor’s degree (185 ECTS) very comfortably in 3 years. I could have graduated after the 5th semester but I chose to hang out and drag out my thesis a bit.

I really don’t understand why you would need 4 years in the first place…

[quote]carbiduis wrote:

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. im a junior in high school and i read online about low percentages of college students graduating in 4 years. i really want to go to a university after high school. specifically Sam Houston State university. it has a good criminal justice program which im interested in and is also a cheap school compared to others in texas. the only bad thing is that only 22% of studens graduate in 4 years.

How come its so hard to graduate college in 4 years. especially at schools that are’t as expensive. does’t it matter on the major. also do you guys think it will take me more then 4 years if i pursue a criminal justice major[/quote]

Depends on what you go to school for. If you’re going for a cereal box degree, there should be no excuse. However, these degrees attract the lazy/party types so thats why they take 4+ yrs to finish.

If you go for a worthwhile degree like I did, 5 yrs is average (only one or two kids did it in 4 yrs in my group), even the diligent students who graduated with 3.8+ GPA took 5 yrs to get their Mechanical Engineering degree.

when you start to enroll in classes like Calc II, Diff EQ, and multivariable Calc, WHILE still having super demanding Engineering courses that are only 3 credits (when they are really more like 4 or 5 credit classic when you consider the weight of the material and the amount of it) you can easily begin to see why graduating in 4 yrs is a daunting task.
[/quote]

Agreed. I studied Electrical & Computer Engineering and my life would have been hell if I tried to graduate in 4 years. My last two years I was doing 60-80 hours a week at the minimum 12 credit hours.

Another thing is that some classes are only offered once a year and some require a certain prereq. So, if you miss it, you have to wait until the next year.

[quote]libanbolt wrote:
why is it so difficult for college students to graduate in 4 years. [/quote]

Let’s see, there are tons of hot people your age down for random sex and alcohol-fueled stupidity. Why would anyone want to leave?

I sometimes regret taking classes while still in high school and the Army to get it over with faster – my actual time on campus was 4 semesters and two summer semesters.

I got out in four, but in retrospect I wish I took another year to study other subjects. However, this was 20 years ago, and tuition was cheaper back then.

Isn’t this the kid that has a 2-something GPA in HIGH SCHOOL? And we are providing serious answers about COLLEGE, and why it might be hard for some people?