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Should students try to graduate early?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

No, students will miss opportunities

Opinion by Samantha Register

Most of us are only in college once. Why rush through the experience?

While undergraduates may want to graduate college early, often in three years instead of four, to either enter the full-time workforce sooner or save money on tuition costs, students who graduate early often find themselves both overworked and missing out on opportunities that are only available to students during college.

Firstly, the standard undergraduate program is designed to be a four-year experience. Many students already have trouble managing their time, pulling all-nighters to write papers or cram in study sessions. Rushing through degree requirements will leave students feeling stressed out and burned out—not a good mindset to be in to get the most from one’s academic experience. 

Meanwhile, taking classes at a standard pace will allow students to have time to enjoy their college experience. Without an overcrowded academic schedule, students have more time to join on-campus organizations, participate in opportunities like internships around Denver, study abroad, or just have time to relax and sleep. Students also have the opportunity to take classes they find interesting, like art or foreign language classes that aren’t degree requirements, when they aren’t trying to rush through their program as quickly as possible.

While universities are primarily learning institutions, they are also meant to provide an enjoyable experience to students. It is difficult finding opportunities to make friends on campus or explore non-academic extracurriculars when one is solely focused on rushing through their degree. These non-academic experiences are still beneficial to students in their future careers by helping them learn to work with a team and by building confidence.

Additionally, many students may only have time for certain extracurricular activities during the course of their undergraduate program. It is difficult to fit activities, like playing sports, being in a theater production, taking art or language classes, or even just weekly club meetings into a 40-hour week. This is why it’s important for students to take advantage of these opportunities while they are still available.

Yes, students can move on in life

Opinion by Haley Frank

There are two types of students: those who take their time to graduate college and those who work to graduate earlier than four years. While these two different personality types largely depend on individual students’ work habits and aspirations, graduating early can save students money and allow them to move on to the next chapter of their lives.

There is no denying that college is expensive, costing students thousands of dollars each year. While scholarships and loans can help relieve the initial financial burden, working to graduate early will help in saving a lot of money.   

Sometimes an undergraduate program is just a stepping stone to a larger goal, such as attending graduate school or working toward obtaining a dream job. College is a milestone, but it’s not the only milestone to look forward to for students. Yes, it’s scary to graduate and enter the next chapter of the unknown, but everything has been unknown up to this point. It is okay to move on earlier than expected with graduation. Be proud of such a huge accomplishment.

The purpose of graduating is to work hard toward a degree in a career a student is passionate about. People claim that graduating early means having to pay bills early and/or finding a full-time job early. While this is true, it’s also true regardless of whether or not someone spends 10 years in college or three. 

College is when people are in limbo—the time between childhood and adulthood. People are told college is the best time of their lives, and while this is true for some, others might be ready to move on into the next stages of their life. By no means should students stress themselves out more by overloading their schedule with classes to ensure an earlier graduation date; however, they should challenge themselves with a schedule that might allow for them to graduate early and move on from school and into the next best stages of their life. 

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