Get In & Get Out: Graduate College in 4 Years By Taking 5 Steps

Going to college is a challenge within itself. Graduating in four years is an even greater challenge … at least for some students.


Some students have to stay in college an extra five or six years because of their major. However, for the average student, getting out of college in four years is absolutely possible. Here’s how:

1. Learn the Game Plan

Before choosing a major, research your degree. Once you decide on a major, look up the list of classes that are required and the prerequisites.

This will help you to prepare ahead of time when buying books and supplies and mentally preparing yourself for the courses ahead of you.

If you know you have to take three classes to get to ONE required class, you might be in school longer than you thought.

2. Take 12 Instead of 15

An average, full-time college student will take 15 credits each semester in order to graduate in four years. However, if 15 credits is too much this semester or the next, take 12 instead.

12 credits is the minimum credit hours a student can take and still be considered as full-time. If you decide to take 12 credits, attend Summer school and winter sessions to catch up.

OR, if you are really ambitious, take 15 credits each semester AND complete the summer and winter courses.

You can even take classes at your local community college for the summer if you attend school out of state.

3. Classes are Always Available

Many students make the mistake of only taking two or three classes because their major didn’t offer a specific class that they were looking for. Another mistake is that some students just don’t know exactly which classes to take.

When situations like these arise, go see your advisor. That’s why they pay them—to help you choose the courses that may not be in your plan of study, but may be able to replace the class you were looking for.

Familiarize yourself with your degree curriculum. Maybe you can pick up a minor along the way that can compliment your major. Use those classes to fill your schedule.

4. Remedial Classes in the Way

Let’s face it, sometimes it is what it is—you have to take remedial classes. This doesn’t make you dumb or anything, but it’ll help you understand a specific core subject (like math or English) so that you can get through the classes related to your major.

Remedial classes (or prep-courses) don’t count toward your credit hours, but you still have to pay for them and pass them like any other class.

This may set you back from a four year graduation plan, but again, you can always pick up classes during the summer and winter months.

5. Don’t Drop If You Don’t Have To

Again, familiarize yourself with the courses needed for your major and talk to your advisor or someone who can help you stay on the four-year-track.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, students get behind in their classes or struggle more than usual. When many students reach that point, they begin feeling less and less motivated about going to the class. That’s when they decide to drop the class.

If you’re going to drop a class, remember that it may set you back another semester or even another year.

If the workload is too heavy, than drop it, but try to stay at or above 12 credits. If not, there’s always summer school.

It’s hard, but possible, to graduate in four years. Many students do it all the time. However, if you can’t graduate in four years, don’t beat yourself up about it.

Being in college is a great honor and many people don’t have the opportunity to attend college. Enjoy the time you have there and if you have to do another year, accept it for what it is and keep working hard!

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