Graduating on Time

Graduating on Time

Getting a college degree pays off in lifetime earnings! But to make sure you get this pay off, you need to be prepared to finish it – and,  to maximize your investment, you’ll need to finishing on time. 

On-Time Graduation

Graduating on time means completing:

  • An associate’s degree in 2 years 
  • A bachelor’s degree in 4 years
  • A certificate or endorsement  in 6 months to a year

“On-Time” Saves (and earns) you Money!

When you complete on time, not only do you save yourself the cost of more years taking courses, you will be able to start your career that much sooner.  

Part-time doesn’t pay off
Have a financial plan that supports full-time attendance. If you really want the career that degree gives entry to (and the higher earning potential it can bring), avoid part-time attendance!  Statistically, less than full-time attendance can doom your odds of ever graduating.

Borrowing less
Graduating on time has even higher stakes if you are borrowing to pay for college. Remember - if you borrow money for college but don’t earn a degree, your student loan payments will still need to be made. Depending on how much debt you take on, repayment can be a serious challenge without the new employment opportunities you could have with a degree.

Getting Done on Time

Follow these tips to get to graduation on time. 

Take the right courses and right number of  credits
Avoid taking courses which are not essential to progress you toward your degree.  Be sure to consult with academic advisors so that they can help you map the shortest route to completing your program.  Although 12 credits per semester  is the minimum to be considered full-time, bachelor’s degrees require at least 120 credits. If you take only 12 credits per semester, it will take at least 5 years to graduate.  If you want to graduate on time, you need to take 15 credit hours per semester and accumulate 30 credits per year. 


Take it seriously
It’s okay to have fun, but don’t take your investment in postsecondary education  lightly. Acknowledge that getting a degree can change your life and stay focused on your objectives.

Find a good fit
Pick a school that supports you with the guidance and resources to stay on track.

Decide on a major early
Meet with an academic advisor yearly to make sure you have a plan for on-time graduation in a major that fits your career goals. Stick to the plan, being sure to balance the less time-consuming courses with the challenging ones.

Stay connected to your campus
Participate in extracurricular activities if available, or engage in your campus community with a part-time job. Don’t shy away from developing relationships with other students and teachers--this will help you learn better and enjoy the experience more.

Motivate yourself
Focus on the reason or reasons you are in college: to learn, to grow and to achieve!