How long does it take to graduate from a 4 year college? You really want to answer 4 years don’t you?
Unfortunately, as I have discussed before, the fact is that most students do not finish a 4 year college in 4 years. When colleges report their graduation rates they almost always use 6 year graduate rates because the government allows them to report students that graduate in 150% of the normal time.And even then, many students haven’t graduated in 6 years from a 4 year college.
I live in Minnesota and at the University of Minnesota only 41% graduate in 4 years and 66% of students graduate in 6 years. 1 in 3 never graduates. And they are by no means alone. The University of Texas at Austin? They graduate 48% in 4 years and 78% in 6 years.
In a recent article, Inside Higher Ed argued that 4 years should be the standard graduation rate. I agree completely. The problem is that the graduate rate depends in large part on the attitude of the college toward graduation. If a 4 year graduation rate is important, they will graduate a student in 4 years.
The New York Times has also joined in this discussion with their article “Colleges Are Failing in Graduation Rates“.
When choosing a college, find out what the colleges 4 year graduation rate is. This will tell you how likely you are to graduate in 4 years. It also tells you how likely you are to pay for 4 or 5 or 6 years of college. Given the high cost of college I think we can all agree that paying for 4 years is better than paying for more.
Lynn M says
I think graduating in 4 years often has a lot to do with student focus as well as the advice and information the student receives by advisors.
Todd Johnson says
I agree that some students do not graduate college in four years because of their focus. However, I would also argue that it may be better for students to take a year or two off before starting college if they are not focused on their education.
And yes, poor advise can definitely have an effect. But more often than not, I think the real issue is whether the college has a focus on undergraduate education and getting the students out in four years.