Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

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

Postby isuuofi » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:53 am

Graduating in three years with a BS is easy for a motivated student. In addition to AP exams, testing out of courses on campus is a great way to accelerate a college program. It was many years ago, but I paid $40 per exam to test out of two foreign language courses, equivalent to eight credit hours. It also helps to load up on easy courses for a semester or two in order to obtain the required credit hours for graduation. I had semester with 19 credit hours that covered required electives, think diversity and other general studies, that was easier than a 15 credit hour semester in an engineering major.

Using these techniques, I graduated in four calendar years, with one year off to work on co-op/ intern assignments. Anyone trying to graduate early should consider what they are trying to get out of the experience before rushing through, because things like internships and networking can be more valuable than the degree itself.

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

Postby LarryAllen » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:59 am

nyknicks2544 wrote: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.



I agree 100%. Learning social skills and social interaction (think school clubs, Rotaract, frats, soros, intramural sports) are so valuable later in life. Also, part-time jobs and internships are extremely valuable. Graduating in 4 years takes enough effort. Trying to cram it in 3 is a good way to have a 21 year old who is highly "educated" but clueless about life.

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

Postby livesoft » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:01 am

LarryAllen wrote:I agree 100%. Learning social skills and social interaction (think school clubs, Rotaract, frats, soros, intramural sports) are so valuable later in life. Also, part-time jobs and internships are extremely valuable. Graduating in 4 years takes enough effort. Trying to cram it in 3 is a good way to have a 21 year old who is highly "educated" but clueless about life.

I suppose that's true, but if one has already been working 40 hours a week in high school, college, and summers, then maybe they have experienced all those good ways already.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby LarryAllen » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:37 am

livesoft wrote:
LarryAllen wrote:I agree 100%. Learning social skills and social interaction (think school clubs, Rotaract, frats, soros, intramural sports) are so valuable later in life. Also, part-time jobs and internships are extremely valuable. Graduating in 4 years takes enough effort. Trying to cram it in 3 is a good way to have a 21 year old who is highly "educated" but clueless about life.

I suppose that's true, but if one has already been working 40 hours a week in high school, college, and summers, then maybe they have experienced all those good ways already.


I would say it's a rare person who works 40 hours a week as you indicate. Certainly they are receiving social skills by that much work. Hard to imagine they have time to get good grades but maybe they are bionic!? Congrats!

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

Postby zuzimb » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:06 am

It is most definitely possible to do it in three years, even with working.

I just graduated this past May 2016, in a pre-req heavy and sector specific major. I was able to fit it into three years by having AP/duel-credit courses and taking a couple of summer courses at a local community college my first freshman year, with a full-time internship and part-time job during summers and winters. I was able to do this even with dropping a class with the lowest expected grade for each of my last four semesters (4 classes dropped total).

To do this it's important to specifically chose a college which would accept all of the AP/duel-credit courses. Also make sure to get the credit for courses within the degree plan. Go to a school where students were able to work with their expected teachers and academic advisers to remove/limit restrictions with signing up for class (allowed me to take junior classes as a freshman, reserve a spot in a class even though I was ineligible to sign up on that date, and occasionally take pre-req classes concurrently with upper level courses).

It's just important to have a solid plan from day 1 and to only waver from that course to account for curriculum changes. Also equally important is using the recommended curriculum path as a guideline. If it is possible to take a junior class in the first year and postpone a "typical" freshman class (ie. health) it would be smart to do so, since that junior level class will likely completely fill more often then freshman basic courses.

Addressing "Why Rush". I must admit I kind of miss school, my roommates and all. But the freedom that comes with zero debt and a proper job far outweighs the negatives. Networking can be done in any year of school, taking upper level courses early allows you to network with people who will potentially be in a hiring position when you get out of school. Summers can still be free enough for internships and even a part-time job on the side if necessary (this is how I landed my full-time job)

As with everything there are pro's and con's and each individual will have to weigh each side of the choice. For me graduating early was a clear winner.

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

Postby radiowave » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:15 am

timmy wrote: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.


Good discussion above. Some things to consider. 1. it takes a minimum of 120 credit hours to obtain a bachelors degree. 2. a minimum of 30 credit hours of general education (arts, humanities, science, math, etc.). 3. each major has different course requirements. 4. there are often prerequisite courses required for more advanced courses, e.g. calculus 1, 2 . . .

So college courses taken prior to graduating high school can be transferred in but need to meet the above requirements, especially the distribution of general education courses. My recommendation is to consider the major then the college to see how well any HS courses would fit. E.g. almost every college has a first year English course requirement so that would likely be transferrable or a basic science course with lab, e.g. chemistry, biology, physics.

Some other considerations . . . it may be difficult to get into some required courses that are key prerequisite courses so it is very important to know deadlines for registration and how many seats are available. That ties into the semester course schedule, if you need to get into two courses and they both overlap, that could effect the plan of study several semesters later. Yes, everyone wants to take classes between 10 and 2 (so do faculty), but it may not work out that way especially with lab courses. Supplementing coursework over the summer is a good way to back fill (or forward fill) courses.

Private colleges tend to be a bit more flexible (generally speaking) than state colleges/universities with accepting general education courses. It is very important to work with the faculty advisor to identify all possibilities and get the right sequence of courses and prerequisites to move forward as quickly as possible. If you miss a required course in say the sophomore year, it may be difficult to advance into the junior year within the major. This ties into the overall discussion how to finish college in 3 years or less. You have to get the right courses in the right sequence for many majors.

Note per the comment above, there are some excellent for-profit colleges/universities but be sure they are accredited by a regional body approved by the US Department of Education, e.g. SACS http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2012PrinciplesOfAcreditation.pdf. If not, then any credits will not be able to be transferred to another accredited school e.g. for graduate work.

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

Postby NoGambleNoFuture » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:18 am

Took dual-enrollment classes while in HS with the local university my junior/senior year and went to college with enough credits to be considered a sophomore (I think 30 hours?). Graduated college in three years while playing division 1 basketball and working in the summers with taking no summer classes. Finished my MBA three years later as I had to take a handful of pre-reqs that I hadn't completed with my undergrad not in business :/

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

Postby mcfroggin » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:19 am

LarryAllen wrote:
nyknicks2544 wrote: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.



I agree 100%. Learning social skills and social interaction (think school clubs, Rotaract, frats, soros, intramural sports) are so valuable later in life. Also, part-time jobs and internships are extremely valuable. Graduating in 4 years takes enough effort. Trying to cram it in 3 is a good way to have a 21 year old who is highly "educated" but clueless about life.


My friend did it easily in 2 years. Obviously degree, work, and planning can adjust things significantly.
Enjoy life but save vigorously!

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

Postby Hukedonfonix4me » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:03 pm

timmy wrote:For a student with enough AP credits


This is irrelevant. I graduated in 3.5 years starting college with 0 credit hours.

Keys:
-Take 15 hours each semester. This is how my family defined "full" time status.
-Take advantage of summer/winter "mini- semesters." Great way to focus on more time consuming subjects (at least for me). Compare your university course catalog with the common courses available at a local community college. Its imperative you confirm the course transfers. Bonus- pass/fail CREDIT(s) transfer- not the GPA...helpful if you bomb the class as this does not directly hurt you...Devils Advocate- Also helpful if you keep up 4.0 on transfer credits and use a combined average GPA on your resume to pad your job negotiations (that one worked for me)
-Don't switch majors
-Don't fail any classes

yes I enjoyed Greek Life and held leadership positions including President.
yes I studied abroad
yes I held various part-time work

It is extremely possible for someone to do. I noticed when deciding my Senior schedule around which remaining courses were offered after 10am, and of course not on Fridays, that I had enough hours to graduate a semester early.....so that's what I did

:sharebeer

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

Postby btenny » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:52 pm

My daughter had tons of AP credits and took several junior college classes as a high school senior. She went into college as a sophomore. She took Architecture that year and then changed into Computer Science. So she had to back up and take some extra CS classes. It took her 3 years to get a BS in Computer Science or 4 years total in college. She was told she could two degrees (BSCS and a BA-Design) with one more class. She never went to summer school or took more than 15ish hours. So yes it is really straight forward to get a BA/BS in 3 to 3.5 years

My niece did something similar after lots of high school AP classes. She went to a 4 year college for 3.5 years towards a BS Chemistry. She needed 1 class to graduate. Instead she started a PhD Pharmacy program. She never completed her BS Chem as the pharmacy program said it was not necessary. She completed that in 2-3 years (??).

Good Luck.

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

Postby Pajamas » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:01 pm

It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

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

Postby Sandtrap » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:04 pm

A close old friend of mine was awarded a 4 year scholarship (any degree). In 4 years she earned a PhD, double major Edu. and Literature. 4.0 GPA, all guided studies.
I know of 2 young men that graduated a state university in 3 years, both Premed with double majors, became MD's.
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby livesoft » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:06 pm

Pajamas wrote:It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

Well, if you take away the "saving money" reason, then I can agree "There is no real advantage", except there are other interesting and good things one can do in that time with the same amount of money if you don't have to spend time in college.

If I gave you $50K to spend any which way you wanted in the next year, would you spend it enrolled at college? :)
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Pajamas
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby Pajamas » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:12 pm

No, I wouldn't, but when I was younger, maybe. I could easily go to school for two years with $50,000, though.

I guess rushing through college at 18 to start work a year earlier is fine if you really enjoy your work more than school.

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

Postby TomatoTomahto » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:02 pm

livesoft wrote:
Pajamas wrote:It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

Well, if you take away the "saving money" reason, then I can agree "There is no real advantage", except there are other interesting and good things one can do in that time with the same amount of money if you don't have to spend time in college.

If I gave you $50K to spend any which way you wanted in the next year, would you spend it enrolled at college? :)

DS has it pretty well figured out. He banks around $35k/year between summer internships and on-campus work. He knows I won't ask for the money, because I want to encourage a good work ethic. :oops:

Another year? No problem!

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

Postby JGoneRiding » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:08 pm

I would say only if you know exactly what you are going to school for, its the type of program with enough flexibility to be able to vary/take extra classes (some programs only over classes every other year and really expect you to go through in exact order) and the AP credits either cover a bunch of generally ed or directly apply to major courses (rare for colleges to want to except them that way)

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

Postby MildlyEccentric » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:30 am

As you've seen from the various replies, graduating early is possible. My wife and I both graduated early without AP credits. My main motivation was financial. Graduating early saved me a semester of tuition and living expenses at a private college. It also allowed me to start working earlier during which I earned money to start paying back my college loans.

One thing that seems to have changed since I graduated many years ago is how colleges charge for tuition. My college permitted me to take as many courses as I wished in a semester for the price of tuition. As a result, I was able to take 18 to 21 hours/semester for the same cost as others who took 12 hours. My son's college permits students to take 12-15 hours/semester, but charges more if they exceed 15 hours. You might want to look into the policies of the school you plan to attend. Also, you will likely need permission from your advisor to take more than the standard load of courses.

Planning your path to graduation is also key as it's easy to end in a situation where a needed course or a prerequisite course is not being taught in a semester you need to take it.

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

Postby Random Poster » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:53 am

Like others, I graduated college in 3 years. It wasn't difficult to accomplish.

Getting out early saved me a year's worth of tuition, and since I knew that I was going on to law school after college (what was I thinking!?!), the only real point of college was to get the degree so that I could go on to the next stage in life. In that sense, college was simply an expense and activity to be endured, so why spend more time, effort, and money than absolutely necessary to get a credential that--let's face it--almost no one ever asks or cares about?

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

Postby N10sive » Wed Dec 28, 2016 12:58 pm

I haven't read all the post so pardon me if I repeat anything.

It is possible to graduate with a bachelors in 3 years with AP credits, doing summer school/winter semester, and carrying a full load during the regular term.

Since you bring up graduation in 3 years, it seems you are fairly focused possibly in the field you would like to earn your degree. If you have the desire I would highly recommend looking into getting a Masters in 4. Some universities have programs for 5 year bachelor/masters. I would think it would also work in this case. Unless there is really a big reason to get done in 3 years a Masters will help tremendously in the job market. Something to think about.

My last advice and probably the most important. Find a good advisor. An advisor can make or break your desire to graduate in 3 years. Sometimes you will start with a general advisor and then get an advisor in your degree program after freshman or sophomore year. I would suggest trying to talk to an advisor in your degree program as soon as you can specifying your goal. This is because sometimes classes are held only certain semesters and can cause a 1 year delay if missed because of prerequisite classes required for advancing.

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

Postby headedwest » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:00 pm

It's definitely possible to graduate in 3 years, but it depends on the institution and program. Many colleges specifically design programs around a 3-year graduation goal, so they design programs that include specific courses to be taken in the summer. (I'm a professor at a private university that does this.) At my university, the entrance requirements are higher for these programs, but we guarantee it will take just 3 years.

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

Postby timmy » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:35 pm

Hi All. Thanks for all the replies. Helpful ...

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

Postby Onion » Sat Dec 31, 2016 6:05 pm

I wish I had been smart enough to think outside the box and work on finishing early to save money. I took the long route so that I could minimize student loans and gain work experience.

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

Postby Carefreeap » Sat Dec 31, 2016 6:25 pm

I did it in 3 years and a quarter. UCSD graduated in 1983

Double major, worked part-time freshman year, full-time from sophomore year on, and was partially supporting a boyfriend. :oops:

I would not recommend what I did. I was very, very burned out.

Came in with one AP test credit (think it was 3 units), plus got one year of a poli-sci class taught by a CC instructor at our H.S.
Took summer school classes.
I paid for all of my classes, expenses, et cetera. My parents were not supportive of me going to college (neither had anything more than a few college classes) but they did allow me to live at home without charging me rent. They were of the mind-set that if they didn't have it we didn't need it either.

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

Postby ByThePond » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:20 am

Pajamas wrote:It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

+10

In the 70's, I was on track to get out in 3 years, thanks to a lot of CLEP (college level examination program) credits. Hadn't heard of AP back then, but tested out for a lot of core classes, and had some advance standing from HS classes.
One day my Chem professor asked how things were going, and I excitedly told him that I was going to finish up in 3. He asked "Why?" I said " 'Cause I can." He persisted, trying to get me to give a good reason why I should, and do you know, I didn't have one.
His advice, to slow the pace, to smell the roses, as it were, was some of the best educational advice I ever got.
I got to stay on track with my friends, take some interesting courses I wouldn't otherwise, and picked up a minor in the Classics, to complement a Pre-Med major.
The treadmill was still waiting for me when I got out. I got to the same point in life, but the route was more enjoyable, and it probably made me a more rounded person.
And, yes, I paid the freight for this myself, for reasons much like Livesoft's. When I left college, I did a 5-year program in 3.5 years, because the personal growth options weren't present.
My take away: It pays to plan ahead, but life is uncertain; sometimes you should eat dessert first.

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

Postby stoptothink » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:03 am

ByThePond wrote:
Pajamas wrote:It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

+10

In the 70's, I was on track to get out in 3 years, thanks to a lot of CLEP (college level examination program) credits. Hadn't heard of AP back then, but tested out for a lot of core classes, and had some advance standing from HS classes.
One day my Chem professor asked how things were going, and I excitedly told him that I was going to finish up in 3. He asked "Why?" I said " 'Cause I can." He persisted, trying to get me to give a good reason why I should, and do you know, I didn't have one.
His advice, to slow the pace, to smell the roses, as it were, was some of the best educational advice I ever got.
I got to stay on track with my friends, take some interesting courses I wouldn't otherwise, and picked up a minor in the Classics, to complement a Pre-Med major.
The treadmill was still waiting for me when I got out. I got to the same point in life, but the route was more enjoyable, and it probably made me a more rounded person.
And, yes, I paid the freight for this myself, for reasons much like Livesoft's. When I left college, I did a 5-year program in 3.5 years, because the personal growth options weren't present.
My take away: It pays to plan ahead, but life is uncertain; sometimes you should eat dessert first.


That may have been good advice 4 decades ago. Again, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition is astronomically higher than it was then. Unless you have someone else footing the bill, it is extremely hard to justify not getting it done as fast as possible. One extra semester may cost as much as a new car, with a higher interest rate loan.

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

Postby just frank » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:17 am

As an academic, who advises many undergraduates with their curriculum, I would say that graduating in 3 years is possible (for some majors) but seldom desirable. I get a lot of students who are 'problems' with major choice, morale, performance, who are under significant pressure from the parents do be 'done' asap.

It takes many students a while to figure out what they want to study. Figuring that out has a lot more life value than getting an unwanted degree in 3 years.

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

Postby ByThePond » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:06 pm

stoptothink wrote:
That may have been good advice 4 decades ago. Again, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition is astronomically higher than it was then. Unless you have someone else footing the bill, it is extremely hard to justify not getting it done as fast as possible. One extra semester may cost as much as a new car, with a higher interest rate loan.


Oh, I understand perfectly.

I'm now semi-retired into secondary education, and see the costs of top tier colleges all the time. You're right, they aren't cheap. And that needs to be considered.

But it isn't always & only about bucks. There is, I hope, still room for a liberal arts component to one's education, even in technical programs. Although, as you point out, it's probably less likely to happen if the student has significant skin in the game (i.e. is covering some of the costs).

Suum cuique! :happy

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

Postby livesoft » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:14 pm

just frank wrote:It takes many students a while to figure out what they want to study. Figuring that out has a lot more life value than getting an unwanted degree in 3 years.

I wonder if that means young adults should try to join the work force for a few years before attempting college studies? That might help them figure out what they want to study.
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just frank
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby just frank » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:41 pm

livesoft wrote:
just frank wrote:It takes many students a while to figure out what they want to study. Figuring that out has a lot more life value than getting an unwanted degree in 3 years.

I wonder if that means young adults should try to join the work force for a few years before attempting college studies? That might help them figure out what they want to study.


I am sure that for some kids that would be a good strategy.

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

Postby stemikger » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:42 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


My daughter did this recently and here is her advice:

Try to stick to one major instead of switching.

Make sure you have good academic advising. Be sure to know what courses you need and when they are offered.

Be sure to know the amount of credits you need (i.e., usually it is 120 for BA). Make sure you know what AP or College Now credits will count toward your major credits.

Try to do something called double dipping (i.e., one class may be able to fulfill two different sections of prereqs).

Take summer or winter courses.

This is what she did and got her BA in 3 years and now is almost done with her Masters.

Good Luck!!!
Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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

Postby timmy » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:25 pm

I'm liking the finish early option more and more. From a cost control standpoint, it is powerful.

I also get that it won't work for every school/ program/ major.

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

Postby just frank » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:28 pm

While college is a major expense, the major source of buyer's regret is an unused degree. I am aok with trying to minimize college costs, but if a kid wants to change majors (or schools) their advisor thinks they make a good case and the change has a cost involved, I'd take the cost rather than pressure the kid to 'just finish' and risk a bad outcome.

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

Postby stoptothink » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:37 pm

ByThePond wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
That may have been good advice 4 decades ago. Again, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition is astronomically higher than it was then. Unless you have someone else footing the bill, it is extremely hard to justify not getting it done as fast as possible. One extra semester may cost as much as a new car, with a higher interest rate loan.


Oh, I understand perfectly.

I'm now semi-retired into secondary education, and see the costs of top tier colleges all the time. You're right, they aren't cheap. And that needs to be considered.

But it isn't always & only about bucks. There is, I hope, still room for a liberal arts component to one's education, even in technical programs. Although, as you point out, it's probably less likely to happen if the student has significant skin in the game (i.e. is covering some of the costs).

Suum cuique! :happy


Sure it isn't all about the bucks, but I can think of about 1000 better (and cheaper to boot) ways for a young adult to smell the roses and gain life experience than spending an extra semester (or two or three) in college.

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

Postby Pajamas » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:56 pm

stoptothink wrote:
That may have been good advice 4 decades ago. Again, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition is astronomically higher than it was then. Unless you have someone else footing the bill, it is extremely hard to justify not getting it done as fast as possible. One extra semester may cost as much as a new car, with a higher interest rate loan.


That could be true in some cases but is not in many others. It depends on the school.

reneeh63
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby reneeh63 » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:59 pm

Sure...this was before AP classes though - I think I CLEPed out of 2 classes. I took a full load of classes (on campus) my sophomore and junior summers in high school, graduated early from H.S. so took a full load that spring and then went every summer. I graduated a month before my 20th birthday.

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

Postby dsmil » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:01 pm

My wife did it so yes, but she's the only person I know who did it. If she came in with any AP credits, they would have been minimal. I got through 51 credits senior year and the summer after by taking 6 classes in the fall and spring, 2 classes in the winter, and 3 classes in the summer after graduation (needed extra 30 credits for CPA). Online community college classes are a cheap way to add credits.

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

Postby Stormbringer » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:15 pm

My mom got a degree in Microbiology in 3 years and ended up hating her job for the next 30 years.

What is far, far more important than getting a degree as quickly as possible is finding your path in life. Unless you are 100% certain about what you want to do, take time to try different subjects and discover what you like.

I spent an extra semester in college because I switched from Electrical Engineering to Computer Science, which was absolutely the correct decision. Not only do I enjoy it more, but I make far more money that I would have with the EE degree. It was well worth the cost of an extra semester.

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

Postby ByThePond » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:20 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Sure it isn't all about the bucks, but I can think of about 1000 better (and cheaper to boot) ways for a young adult to smell the roses and gain life experience than spending an extra semester (or two or three) in college.


Really? Sounds like we have somewhat different ideas of the purpose of college.

I enjoyed the additional subject material very much, and think it may have made me a more broadly knowledgeable individual. It was education for its own sake, which has become increasingly uncommon these days of skyrocketing college costs. Besides, I was living at home and only wound up with about 8 extra credits. The duration of college was greater than it needed to be, not its cost. The additional cost was less than the money I was able to earn from the two jobs I had, so the additional year could be viewed as a financial gain, not drain.

When I hit the professional level of education, which is a lot like a glorified trade school in some respects, I kicked in the afterburners and finished early. Classes, internship, a grueling commute, and no income made it a grind. That was something to minimize, to be sure.

So, yes, one can finish a program in fewer years than usual, but it might or might not be desirable.

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

Postby logos » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:57 pm

I did it. Graduated HS 2002 and college in 2005. I had about half a year worth of credit that I took during high school. I took classes every single summer. It was a full time job - I couldn't have worked and done it. I usually took the maximum 20 hours per quarter and remember a couple of quarters I had to get special permission from some advisor person to take a few more than the limit. You can also often get around pre-requisites by getting permission from the professor - I did that to take both classes and their prereqs simultaneously like microbiology and biochemistry.

My plan was to apply to medical school (just one school) and if I didn't get in then I would change my minor to a second major and do a 4th year. I got in.

That said, if I was able to advise my younger self - I would tell myself not to do it - but my younger self had a one track mind and wouldn't listen anyway. Better to spend the time doing fun college stuff - undergrad research, taking the cool classes (food science wine tasting?, rock climbing?), drinking beer, chasing women etc. You will get where you are going eventually.

Also what is mentioned previously by others is absolutely true: you need to know the graduation requirements for your major and you can't go changing majors - you need to know exactly what you need to do and plan out which classes will be taken when in advanced as not every class is available every quarter/semester.

Also the "advisors" the university made us go meet with were worthless - you had to look at the catelogue and figure it out yourself. I would not depend on them for anything.

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

Postby HIinvestor » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:41 am

My S entered his U with 60 AP credits. He could have graduated a term or year early but we encouraged him to do summer internships and take some fun courses in addition to his required EE coursework. He did take geology and sailing and had 3 great job offers by Feb of his SR year. He had a generous merit scholarship for all 4 years he was at the U.

One of our friends had 2 kids. One got two bachelor's degrees -- engineering and business and a MBA degree in four years and one or two summers. His younger sister got her bachelor's in computer science in 3 years.

So bottom line, yes, it certainly IS possible to get a BA in 3 years for very focused, motivated students--if they can get their needed courses.

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

Postby stoptothink » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:19 am

ByThePond wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
Sure it isn't all about the bucks, but I can think of about 1000 better (and cheaper to boot) ways for a young adult to smell the roses and gain life experience than spending an extra semester (or two or three) in college.


Really? Sounds like we have somewhat different ideas of the purpose of college.

I enjoyed the additional subject material very much, and think it may have made me a more broadly knowledgeable individual. It was education for its own sake, which has become increasingly uncommon these days of skyrocketing college costs. Besides, I was living at home and only wound up with about 8 extra credits. The duration of college was greater than it needed to be, not its cost. The additional cost was less than the money I was able to earn from the two jobs I had, so the additional year could be viewed as a financial gain, not drain.

When I hit the professional level of education, which is a lot like a glorified trade school in some respects, I kicked in the afterburners and finished early. Classes, internship, a grueling commute, and no income made it a grind. That was something to minimize, to be sure.

So, yes, one can finish a program in fewer years than usual, but it might or might not be desirable.


So you think a few extra semesters in school would be a better way to smell the roses and experience life than say a backpacking trip around the world? I spent 11yrs studying at the university level and now am an adjunct at a local university as a side gig; I am still totally confused when people speak of this magical "college experience". My undergrad was covered by an athletic scholarship (much of my MS and PhD were covered by research grants as well), so money wasn't a necessity, still the last thing I wanted to do was take my time and extend it. I felt there were a lot better experiences out there in the real world and a few years into it (completed PhD in 2012) I am even more confident about this. I feel like I am a much more overall developed person, have had some amazing experiences that being in school would have made very difficult, and I'm in a better financial position because I didn't take my time like some of my classmates. Yeah, we definitely have a different ideas about the purpose and views about the experience of college.

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

Postby stoptothink » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:33 am

Pajamas wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
That may have been good advice 4 decades ago. Again, the inflation-adjusted cost of tuition is astronomically higher than it was then. Unless you have someone else footing the bill, it is extremely hard to justify not getting it done as fast as possible. One extra semester may cost as much as a new car, with a higher interest rate loan.


That could be true in some cases but is not in many others. It depends on the school.


Absolutely. My wife attends one of the cheapest universities in the country (~$7k/yr all in, full-time) and the school which I am adjunct at is the cheapest private university in the country by a huge margin (and not bad at all academically); we are very blessed here in Utah to have the cheapest options in the country. That being said, where I got my undergrad, a single semester will now cost you more than we are looking to spend (all in, including TTL) for our new car. The cost disparity between schools is probably the biggest absurdity in the contemporary nonsensical academic paradigm.

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

Postby basspond » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:15 am

Yes my child will. But you have to plan in middle school to take courses that are prerequites to the AP classes in high school. Took summer classes both summers. The hardest thing was signing up and getting into required classes, since seniors have first dibs. They had to be "forced" into the classes by their advisor on several occasions. Took about 15 hours except last semester which will be about 20.
Last edited by basspond on Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

ks289
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby ks289 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:18 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
livesoft wrote:
Pajamas wrote:It's possible but unless saving money is the primary concern, why not just take some additional courses in school or carry a lighter course load when taking more advanced and difficult classes? There is no real advantage to rushing through college when you can enjoy it.

Well, if you take away the "saving money" reason, then I can agree "There is no real advantage", except there are other interesting and good things one can do in that time with the same amount of money if you don't have to spend time in college.

If I gave you $50K to spend any which way you wanted in the next year, would you spend it enrolled at college? :)

DS has it pretty well figured out. He banks around $35k/year between summer internships and on-campus work. He knows I won't ask for the money, because I want to encourage a good work ethic. :oops:

Another year? No problem!


Holy cow! What kind of work does a college kid do to make $35K in their summers and during the school year? And I thought when you called something an internship it meant no pay.
I worked in college during the year grading homework and summers doing research funded by undergraduate research grants (and side gigs temping and volunteering for research studies) and made barely 10% of that (20 years ago).

I see both sides of the discussion have their merit, and that it depends a lot on the individual, school, and career plans.

I took 4 years for college and enjoyed all of them immensely. I personally preferred my time in college with friends and doing on campus activities over other real world type things I did during the same time period (working, volunteering, and other experiences). Backpacking across Europe never appealed to me.

On the other hand, my wife graduated in three years (clearly needed to work harder to do that) and saved her parents money and did enjoy her year off before medical school teaching high school and coaching sports.

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

Postby givewell » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:21 am

YES. That is the answer to your question. Everything else is just so much discussion, some useful to you, some not so useful.

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

Postby TomatoTomahto » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:00 pm

ks289 wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:DS has it pretty well figured out. He banks around $35k/year between summer internships and on-campus work. He knows I won't ask for the money, because I want to encourage a good work ethic. :oops:

Another year? No problem!


Holy cow! What kind of work does a college kid do to make $35K in their summers and during the school year? And I thought when you called something an internship it meant no pay.
I worked in college during the year grading homework and summers doing research funded by undergraduate research grants (and side gigs temping and volunteering for research studies) and made barely 10% of that (20 years ago).


It's a combination of TAing ($20/hour), some work on the school's Cloud infrastructure (I don't know what he gets paid for that), and summer internships (silly money for a kid). In CS, internships definitely do pay money. His sophomore year internship provided a nice furnished apartment, many meals, travel, and >$2k/week pay. His junior year offers surpass that. It's an unfair world: his GF is just as smart, just as hard-working, but not in CS, and doesn't have the same offers.

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

Postby Tycoon » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:15 pm

givewell wrote:YES. That is the answer to your question. Everything else is just so much discussion, some useful to you, some not so useful.


Agreed!

"Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?" Multiple examples have been presented as evidence, so the answer is yes, it is possible to graduate from college in 3 years.
...I might be just beginning | I might be near the end. Enya | | C'est la vie

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

Postby Bastiat » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:59 pm

I graduated from a good school with a B.S. in Business Administration and a minor in German in less than 3 full years. I would have double-majored but didn't think of it until too late. It was not difficult, and I was also balancing a sport and ROTC.

With a full load, summer school, and a major like Business it is very doable. I was able to travel and earn credits over winter break through an organization called CCSA.

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

Postby island » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:23 pm

So Timmy, why do you ask?

Like others, I mentioned knowing some people who did it and had a good experience, but I should also mention I knew a few who were so focused on getting out early for various reasons that it wasn't a good experience and some who were so sheltered, lacking in social or life skills that they probably would have benefited from taking part in more than the academics.

Some Bogleheads post don't spend on material goods, spend on experiences and college is an experience.

zig25
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Re: Is it possible to graduate from college in 3 years?

Postby zig25 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:17 pm

I graduated with my B.S. 3 years, a semester early. IMO depends on the technical load of your classes and if you really want to graduate early.


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