There are endless reasons why CU Denver is an excellent institution. There is one significant issue of concern for students that I have consistently come across during my time at this fine university, and that’s the ability to graduate in four years.
We are here for four years to get work done.
A standard is set from the beginning. At freshman orientation, incomers are told that the expected time to graduate is anywhere from five to seven years. This is a shocking revelation for many; five to seven years is not a reasonable timeframe for many students stepping on campus with limited funds and short-term goals.
Most students don’t have the time or the money to spend extra time working on their undergrad. Getting a bachelor’s degree is already expensive enough. Tacking on a few extra years just so you don’t have to take a few extra classes is more unnecessary work. For anyone seriously considering going to graduate school, the last thing they want is to be stuck finishing their undergrad for any longer than necessary.
There are exceptions to why students don’t always graduate in four years, such as changing majors or transferring schools. For the most part though, students should be encouraged to graduate on track. It’s by year five and six that students get burned out and then drop out or take a semester off and never come back to pursue their undergraduate degree, after wasting thousands of dollars.
Students have to take both full credit loads and summer classes to ensure graduation in four years. It is all done by the determined student not always suggested by advisors. Every time a student visits their advisor for the semester check up, they are reminded of this five to seven year graduation rate.
Advisors might encourage students to “take it easy,” but this is college and we are here for four years to get work done. The point of attending a university is to get a degree without spending the rest of our lives paying back the debt.
CU Denver is a prime example of a non-traditional campus. To students looking for a unique experience— the campus provides both a well-rounded platform for learning, all while taking in all that the beautiful citybased setting has to offer. The need to graduate in four years is not of as much importance as the enjoyment of this journey of higher education.
Education is a lifetime investment
Yes, it would actually be great if the school advertised from the beginning that a four year track is not to be expected—if students knew what they were getting into, the compromise would be that there is less pressure to force a strict timeline upon themselves. The pacing that this provides allows for a more explorative university experience, which, while is not for all students, might ultimately be for the better in the long run.
This larger amount of higher education doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank—you pay money per credit hour. It’s not as if each semester tacked on amounts to 18 credits every time. Since the amount of credits is basically the same, the amount per credit hour is the same as well.
Personally, the more loose structure has simply contributed to more enjoyment in the wholesome process that is learning. Also, there is no feeling of being rushed towards the grueling real-world. Finding this enjoyment over a longer amount of time does not necessarily take away from one’s life goals.
Education is a lifetime investment that pays off if a student allows it to. The lesser amount of pressure to rush graduation allows for different avenues of education to be explored. It surely contributes more strongly toward interests rather than a strictly fast-track plan—a stronger balance of well-being and mental stimulation.
While, yes, a degree is the goal of university, the journey is just as, if not more important for a fulfilling life experience. A more thoughtful, in-depth approach to learning pays off more than rushing through four years of academia will.