Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

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timmy
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Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by timmy » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:09 pm

For a student with enough AP credits, is it possible to graduate in ~3 years (with a bachelors)? I know the technical answer is yes, but do people actually do it? Examples would be great.

Thank you

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badbreath
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by badbreath » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:12 pm

yes one of my good friends did it. She then got her masters in one year
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DSInvestor
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by DSInvestor » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:14 pm

I went to an engineering school and completed in four years. Some (many) elect to complete in 5 years. I had some friends who did their bachelor and a masters in 4 years.

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CAsage
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by CAsage » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:15 pm

With AP credits, going to summer school, carrying a full load - it's theoretically possible. I know people who graduated in under 4 years, but few. Most took 4~5.... Then again, today... with students unable to get classes they need, dropping classes, changing majors, changing schools... You need a very stable plan and a school that guarantees you can get your classes. Some private schools do that - worth checking their actual "graduate in 4 year rates". Note that tragically, for most parents, college will be a five year budget drain.... I believe England does college in 3 years as normal.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by stoptothink » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:15 pm

I did it in 3.5, with a double major, while playing football. Allowed me to get almost halfway through my MS on the school's dime (football scholarship). This of course, was 15yrs ago and athletes get first crack at classes.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by cutterinnj » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:15 pm

timmy wrote:For a student with enough AP credits, is it possible to graduate in ~3 years (with a bachelors)? I know the technical answer is yes, but do people actually do it? Examples would be great.

Thank you


Absolutely, yes.

Depending on the school, certain AP classes may or may not be accepted.

If you have 30 or so accepted, you are likely to have sophomore status. Several of my friends did just this.

I personally did things a little differently; I technically left high school after 10th grade and went to community college. After 2 years, I transferred to a "top 10" school as a Junior.
2 of my colleagues did the same thing, but transferred to Harvard as a Junior.

It can be done. It should be done more often. (Saves a lot of money.)

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by dm200 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:16 pm

timmy wrote:For a student with enough AP credits, is it possible to graduate in ~3 years (with a bachelors)? I know the technical answer is yes, but do people actually do it? Examples would be great.
Thank you


Yes - a young relative of mine was admitted as an undergraduate to a University that has an associated medical School. Her undergraduate admittance guaranteed admission to the medical school (with some conditions, of course). She completed undergraduate degree in 3 years, and did outreach work in Eastern Europe for a year until her medical school admission was "on time".

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by island » Mon Dec 26, 2016 4:20 pm

Yes I have a coworker who's child had so many AP courses that he stared at a university just a few credits short of entering as a junior. No summer school involved.
Others who did it with various combos of AP, summer courses while still in high school and going to college year round.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:20 pm

Yes, but it depends on major and school. Sometimes, AP units only serves as "general" credits but can't be used to fulfill requirements. This can be problematic for requirement-heavy majors, such as engineering. Graduating in 3 years is also contingent upon getting the courses needed to fulfill graduation requirements. This can be difficult at some schools, which is why so many take 5 years to complete.

Some schools also charge for a fulltime load, but allow you to take an extra class at no extra charge. If you can handle the load, this can shave a year off without summer school or any AP/transfer credits. This was 20 years ago, but between AP and community college credits earned while in high school, I started off almost as a junior. Taking 20 units per quarter allowed me to finish both BS and MS in the equivalent of 4 years. (It was actually 4.7 yrs, because the last 1.7 yrs was done as a grad student at the part-time TA rate).

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by mhalley » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:24 pm

I graduated in 3 years with a BS in chemistry. I took 18 hours a semester, plus went to summer school. I had no AP credits, but did have 6 credits of English from a couple courses I took while in the Navy. Course this was in the '80s
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by MoonOrb » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:25 pm

It's getting more and more difficult to even graduate in four years while meeting all degree requirements. I graduated in 3.5 and it hardly required any additional effort on my part at all. I'm assuming I could have graduated in 3 if I had been really motivated to do it.

But that was 20 years ago. I'd seek out people who have graduated in the last 3-4 years to get a better idea.

The people for whom this strategy will be most successful are people who don't have degrees requiring classes that are in high demand and, even more importantly, people seeking degrees that don't have rigorous requirements as far as many prerequisites/large number of required classes. Majors with lots of prereqs and/or a large burden of required classes make it difficult to fit in all of the needed classes within a compressed timeframe.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by Rodc » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:31 pm

I have friend whose daughter is finishing her BS from MIT in three years.

So, yes, it is possible for some people in some situations.

Another friend has a son at GA Tech and may come close.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by nyknicks2544 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:48 pm

What is the rush? My undergrad years were great... :sharebeer

Internships are also becoming crucial for full-time employment. If you're trying to graduate early by taking summer classes you miss out on this opportunity. For some people going straight to graduate school this might not matter but for others I would think early graduation might actually be a bit of a disadvantage.

Large companies (F500) also have structured full-time recruiting programs. If you graduate off cycle (December) you'll need to wait to start working if entering any of these programs.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by KSOC » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:51 pm

Daughter did it. 4.0 (kinda proud) :happy
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by snoopdoug1 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:07 pm

I did it as a Computer Science Major. I came in with 12 credits from AP classes, and took a leadership seminar over one of the summers to cover some of the humanities credits and make up another semester. I didn't feel overwhelmed either, did it with a 4.0. So... if I can do it you can too!

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by MathWizard » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:13 pm

In Engineering, it is difficult due to pre-reqs. The programs are laid out for 4 years, and have a
sequence of courses that you must take in the right order. The person to ask is an advisor at the school, in
the major in which you or your child is going.

The AP courses give you credit, but typically not credit (or knowledge) in the right courses.
AP Physics was not calc based, so even tough you can get credit for it, it won't satisfy the requirement
of Phys. for Engineering, nor will it satisfy the pre-req for the next course in the sequence.

You would need permission to take a course without or in concurrence with a pre-req.

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femur
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by femur » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:15 pm

I got my undergrad in a few days shy of three years. I came in with 20+ hours of AP credit and then took 18 hours a semester ( at least) and then 2 summers of courses. I majored in information systems and minored in economics with a 3.4 gpa. I graduated in 2004. I'm glad I did it because I got an early start on my career and saved a ton of money not paying for another year of college.

I sure worked my tail off though!

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by livesoft » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:25 pm

Sure it is possible and I'm a big believer in it. I graduated in 3 years while working 20+ hours a week from a private elite university. It was important for me to do so because my family refused to pay any tuition, but you already know the story because it is in another thread of yours:
viewtopic.php?p=2970510#p2970510 I went on to graduate school immediately.

Decades later, my daughter graduated early as well from another private elite university mentioned many times on the forum with a BS in Engineering. She even earned her EIT designation while in school. She also worked during the school year and had internships, too. Her parents were paying her full expenses, so she saved her parents some bucks, too. She had a lot more AP credits than I did including Computer Science AP after her sophomore year of high school that allowed her to start work in the field at age 16.

So I think it is not only possible, but desirable for many majors.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by CppCoder » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:29 pm

MathWizard wrote:In Engineering, it is difficult due to pre-reqs. The programs are laid out for 4 years, and have a
sequence of courses that you must take in the right order. The person to ask is an advisor at the school, in
the major in which you or your child is going.

The AP courses give you credit, but typically not credit (or knowledge) in the right courses.
AP Physics was not calc based, so even tough you can get credit for it, it won't satisfy the requirement
of Phys. for Engineering, nor will it satisfy the pre-req for the next course in the sequence.

You would need permission to take a course without or in concurrence with a pre-req.


Exactly. It's the sequencing more than the number of total credit hours that can make this difficult. I saw GaTech mentioned above. When the school was on quarters, the sequencing was easy to pull off if you went four quarters per year. They designed the curriculum so you could complete the sequence in five years with a co-op or four years without one. Because the co-op system had half the students in school full time summer/winter and half in school full time spring/fall (the other two quarters you were in your co-op), they always had a feasible sequence to get through the courses only attending lectures half the year. Therefore, you could choose to use that sequence to fulfill the requirements in three years if you went to school year round. I'm not sure how their system is set up since they switched to quarters in the late 90s.

Now that I think about it, I don't think I know anyone who tried to graduate in three years even though it was possible. Most of my friends were in the co-op program, so they graduated in five years with the equivalent of 1.5 years of practical engineering experience. I had always planned on going straight to grad school, so I didn't bother with practical experience. Who needs that when you're going to be so practically grounded with a Ph.D. :D

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by itstoomuch » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:41 pm

If yours is attending a tier 1 or tier 2 school, IMO, I don't think it is worth it. The cohort network is valuable.

DS did MEng and was close to doing it in 3 but prerequisites made it 4 years. He did a second major, which was not unusual for his school.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:49 pm

The kids at schools like you are considering for your son often have no desire to graduate early; they busted butt to get in, why rush to leave (assuming no financial necessity). Yale, for example, does allow for advanced standing, but very few kids go that route. Many kids have a bunch of AP credits, but most use them to place into higher level courses rather than graduating early. It is conversely also very rare that a student will be allowed to spend more than 8 semesters on campus, although various off-campus activities can be approved.

Kids can get an MS/BS (or MA/BA) in 4 years. Different majors make this easy or difficult to apply for. It does mean taking fewer electives and more graduate classes in your major. If you're going on to a PhD, it will probably shave a year off the process, and if you're going into industry, it can give you a head start. IMO, it's better than getting out a year early.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by bds3 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:54 pm

It's very possible. I didn't have an engineering degree as many have discussed so that may be an exception, but I had a science double-major with mathematics and accounting minors. I started college with 42 credits, no summer school, and played a Division I sport. During the season I took 12 credits, and in the offseason I took 18; I finished with somewhere around 160 credits, with 120 (124?) required to graduate. Because of the science-heavy load this included a lot of labs which means my 12 and 18 credit-hour semesters were the workload of 15-24 hours. Had I only focused on one major I could have graduated in 2.5 years, especially if non-science. The only reason I stayed for the 4th year was athletics; in hindsight I would have focused on the science major (filling in with business classes), graduated early, and stayed to play my sport and gotten my MBA while there.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by bcdfgh » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:28 pm

badbreath wrote:yes one of my good friends did it. She then got her masters in one year

A relative of mine also did the same with summers classes so in 4 yrs he received a BS and MS. He also received full scholarship for his BS.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by Hawaiishrimp » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:31 pm

Yes, but not easy. Not all the required classes will be available to your desired timeline
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by MossySF » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:46 pm

I remember this story from 10 years ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01779.html

David Banh, an 18-year-old from Annandale, just graduated from the University of Virginia in one year. With a double major.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by bobcat2 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:00 pm

I once had girlfriend with a double major in math and economics who graduated in three years. She went to a private college full-time during the regular school year and commuted to a public university near her parents home in Cleveland during the summer.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by Peter Foley » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:07 pm

It used to be if you did a couple summer sessions. I graduated in 3.5 years with a study abroad summer session in Mexico and a Semester in Spain. I had to take 20 credits one semester, but the cost savings at a private college was worth it. I went on to get a masters in Spanish in a year and a half - that too included a study abroad summer session.

Both my daughters could have graduated a semester early because of AP credits. Both did study abroad which set them back a bit so they finished in four instead of 3.5. 3.5 seems easily doable in the liberal arts if you don't change majors. In the sciences and engineering the course offerings may prevent you from doing so.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by taguscove » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:10 pm

Yes you can graduate in 3 years. AP credits are essential. My business professor talked me out of it, and I want to thank him every time.

I highly recommend spending that time in a study abroad. The experience with dozens of international students with free time and free money was an once in a lifetime experience. I have many multiples the money now, but can never replicate that experience.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by jjface » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:12 pm

Just study in Europe :D

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by livesoft » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:18 pm

taguscove wrote:I highly recommend spending that time in a study abroad. The experience with dozens of international students with free time and free money was an once in a lifetime experience. I have many multiples the money now, but can never replicate that experience.

I agree that spending some years in a foreign country (European countries are great!) is not to be missed in one's lifetime.

I simply worked in Europe for a few years after graduating, so one doesn't have to study abroad to get the experience. :)
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by blevine » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:20 pm

I did it many years ago. Enough AP to knock off a semester, summer school for another. Extra cost of summer school and lack of job in summer, made it only a modest savings, if any. What is your motivation?

Tough to do it just taking more credits per semester, due to prereqs, scheduling, and fact colleges over-enroll today, making course registration ever more competitive.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:34 pm

I did it back in the 90s. Came into school with 32 credits of the 120 I needed to graduate. I took generally light loads each semester and took a class in Summer school (maybe two Summers? I can't remember). All this while majoring in history--not exactly the most demanding major. I was lazy in college. Still, I later regretted graduating in 3 years and missing out on the fun of my senior year, though obviously it wouldn't have made financial sense to go for a 4th year.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by cheesepep » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:53 pm

Yes, it is possible with some majors, but not all. Pass enough AP classes, take community college classes and arrange your classes carefully. For my major, there is a required upper division class that was only offered once a year. 90% of the people would fail the class and would automatically be on the 5-year plan. However, during my year in college, there was a breakthrough, 90% of the class failed again as typical and the college offered a second class in the subsequent quarter for all of those failures (students), so everyone could continue to be back on the four year plan. The first class professor had tenure and was very strict and a bad teacher and the second teacher was nice and easier.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by rgs92 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:03 pm

I did it in 3.5 years in math and could have done it in 3 if I had taken classes in 1 more summer or crammed in a few more courses along the way.
I had no advance credits from high school beforehand. The total was 128 credits.
One semester, I did take 21 credit though, but it went OK. My grades were OK but not spectacular (I ended up with a GPA of 3.5 out of 4, a B+ average.)
It was a good school, but not Ivy League or anything (public, not private).

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by JonFromDimensionC137 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:08 pm

Yes, one of my best friends who was a year younger than me did this. We started the same job together out of college.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by celia » Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:01 am

One of my kids had so many AP credits (and with excellent scores, even for subjects his HS didn't offer), that he could have gone to most universities and graduated in 3 years or less. But with his talent, those AP scores enabled him to be accepted at a top notch university where the abundance of AP courses was typical for all applicants and the AP-equivalent college courses were just prerequisites to more advanced courses. So his BS (taking 4 years) had more advanced courses than if he had gone to an easier school for 3 years. He also had room for 2 majors and a minor. Most of his friends at that college either double majored or finished a masters and bachelors in the 4 years they were there.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by workingovertime » Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:01 am

Where I'm from in Florida, you can do it in 2 years after graduating HS.
They have what's called duel-enrollment where the student basically attends a community college while still in HS. I don't know the specifics but they basically graduate with an AA upon HS graduation. That puts them at a Junior college level. I know personally people who have done it this way.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by BestWishes » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:17 am

S1 graduated a few years ago in 3 years and 1 quarter with a major and a minor, average work load per quarter, no summer school instead worked in field related jobs every summer.

S2 is graduating this year in 3 years and 2 quarters with a STEM major, average work load per quarter, no summer school instead worked in field related jobs every summer.

3 years is possible but depends on the college (i.e. how much AP credits are accepted) and major (i.e. STEM majors often have more requirements).

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by aj44 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:30 am

I graduated at 20 with my bachelors after attending a for profit school year round for 2.8 years. I had a professional level job with a Fortune 500 a month after graduating that also paid for my grad school which I attended part time and graduated at 24.

That was 15 years ago, for profits have been demonized to the point where what I did may not be possible today.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by mcraepat9 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:05 am

I did it. To be fair, I spent my 4th year lounging around campus and doing virtually nothing so maybe I am not an example to follow.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by david » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:35 am

Yes. I did it with a dual major in computer science/math (combined major+minor) and political science. I did take summer classes to fulfill a language requirement and a couple of additional poly sci classes. I had a full course load each semester taking 17-18 credit hours. My (public) college gave me requirement fulfilling credits for some of my AP tests but not others (calculus but not computer science, for example) but I received credits for all of them. I basically had more than 5 years of credits including the AP credits + summer classes.

If you are interested in doing it (particularly with a double major), I would plan out the course requirements and make sure it is possible. This is particularly true since some classes are only offered every other semester or once every two years for some courses and some majors have long lists of required sequential classes. It also will be helpful to understand the general educational requirements knowing which requirements you can fulfill within your major(s) and looking at which non-major courses can get multiple requirements completed at once (if allowed). The freshman advisers at my alma mater gave me bad advice with respect to some courses and the requirements which resulted in me taking unwanted electives to fulfill requirements that I would have completed within my major. So I would double check any course selection advice, particularly if they are pushing you to take classes that are not within your pre-selected major. Reading and understanding the course catalog before selecting your first semester's worth of classes would be helpful.

I have a friend that graduated in two years (with an English major) from a different state school. She took a lot of AP tests without taking the associated courses in high school and ended up with a lot of credits.

In terms of friendships, I had one friend who graduated in 3 years as well. But all my other friends graduated in four years. It was sad moving on without them but I went back to visit for their graduation a year later.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by SGM » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:58 am

I had a friend whose sister completed her undergraduate and medical school in a special combined 6 year program in the 1980s.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by denovo » Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:11 am

timmy wrote:For a student with enough AP credits, is it possible to graduate in ~3 years (with a bachelors)? I know the technical answer is yes, but do people actually do it? Examples would be great.

Thank you


Also consider what the person wants to do afterwards. If you want to say go to medical school, and manage to finish in 3 years by overloading credits during the school year you won't have time for much extracurricular activities and you'll spend your summers in classes when you should be doing internships. That won't be a strong application.

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by denovo » Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:19 am

livesoft wrote:Sure it is possible and I'm a big believer in it. I graduated in 3 years while working 20+ hours a week from a private elite university. It was important for me to do so because my family refused to pay any tuition, but you already know the story because it is in another thread of yours:
viewtopic.php?p=2970510#p2970510 I went on to graduate school immediately.



I had to read that twice. What's the context? Why were they so adamantly against you going to school?

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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by Jazztonight » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:18 am

I'm sure it's possible. But that said, I agree with the "What's the rush?" group. While life may be short, it's not a race.

Because of an illness I developed after my freshman year in college, it took me five years (including summers) to graduate and get my first BS degree. Extra classes and a change of major helped build a foundation that gave me knowledge and courage to enter a completely different field of study several years later, and that was only after an additional three semesters of science and math to fill in prerequisites. Then four years in a professional program led to another BS and a doctorate.

But wait, there's more! In my fifties I entered a four year BA program In a completely different field of study. By that time, I truly appreciated the value of education in and of itself.

There's plenty of time to work in your career (mine was 37 years) if you live long enough. Life is not a race, and the people with the most money are not necessarily the winners. Just sayin'.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

stoptothink
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:36 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:The kids at schools like you are considering for your son often have no desire to graduate early; they busted butt to get in, why rush to leave (assuming no financial necessity).


Reality is, with the cost of school now, finishing as soon as possible is a financial necessity for most students, even though many don't realize it. In the moment, most are just enjoying it and not worrying about graduating early, and then they kick themselves over the next few decades as they are paying for it. When each semester is likely costing you another $10k or more in high interest loans, the "experience" is worth more?

RadAudit
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by RadAudit » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:02 am

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Last edited by RadAudit on Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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timmy
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by timmy » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:05 am

Hi. There were a couple of questions about "why finish early"? I have a fairly pragmatic view on education. What are you buying? How can you most effectively source that thing or experience?

In terms of the study abroad option, I see value in it ... but not worth the cost of another year in school.

If the student could get a full ride, I suppose the question is much less relevant. But then again, if earning power was $100K/ year. That wouldn't be as true.

Thank you for the posts so far. It's great to see that it is very possible under lot's of different circumstances.

We have a family friend. He graduated in 4 years but effectively took 3 years of classes and worked (coop, interns, etc.) for 1 year. They paid the equivalent of 3 years tuition (plus some minimal fees while he was working). He went to a very small school, so I wasn't sure how typical it might be.

livesoft
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:20 am

denovo wrote:
livesoft wrote:Sure it is possible and I'm a big believer in it. [...]


I had to read that twice. What's the context? Why were they so adamantly against you going to school?

They had no money to pay for college. I don't think that post said they didn't want me to go to college. They didn't want me to go to the college I chose to go to because it was relatively expensive.
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