Post # 1
Just wondering what you all might do in my situation. I will be a junior this fall on a very traditional college path. I’m lucky enough to know that I want to pursue a degree in higher ed at some point after I graduate. I’ve worked with several campus departments and am currently working in the Admissions office for the summer, and it’s confirmed my decision.
Heres my dilemma. Do I graduate a semester early or not? I’m studying abroad next summer, and my mom said I could put the tuition money she saves toward that if I graduate early. But I worry about missing out on opportunities. I feel like I should sit back and enjoy my last years, but Im not a patient person. I wouldn’t go to grad school earlier as I will probably work for a year or two. But I could start earning and saving earlier. My boyfriend is graduating this fall, and there’s a possibility we would move for his education the fall after I graduate, so I could save for those expenses as well.
I think I have severe FOMO…but working here this summer and getting my first taste of the real world and my future have me so antsy! Do you have any advice?
Post # 3
@juliana192: How many credit hours are you going to have to take a semester to graduate early? I’ve been carrying 17 to 20 credit hours a semester and its been kind of killing me. I had planned to graduate early but with my minor it just turned out to be too much. I guess my warning is just don’t over do it so much that you burn out before you get to the finish line. By all accounts junior year is the hardest so don’t increase your credit load to drastically. (I didn’t catch what your major was but in engineering I spent 40 to 60 hours a week doing homework outside of class during junior year.) But if the classes were available to do so I would graduate early. Unfortunately because I couldn’t handle 24 credit hours last fall I had to push a class back and would have had to take the full 4 years anyhow but at least my last semester is only 6 credit hours. I think I might start working on my MBA that semester too but who knows.
Post # 4
I think it would depend on your major. I’m graduating in three years (one year early) with my BA. Because of the way my degree is structured and the credits I earned in high school it was no big deal in terms of scheduling – just a few heavier semesters but nothing over 18 credits. If it was something like that I would graduate early. It would allow you to save some money and to get into the workforce. However, if your courseload would be too hard, I would wait.
Post # 5
@juliana192: In addition to what pp have said, I think it is ok to aim for early graduation. If you decide to stay longer that is ok, you would be flexible (assuming your mom is willing to pay). I graduated a year early from high school and did not regret it. However, finishing college early was not an option for me.
Post # 6
I’m getting my Masters in Higher Ed right now, so maybe I can help you out.
I personally don’t recommend graduating early for a few reasons – one of them being the experience of it all. I LOVED college and took advantage of every opportunity. have you been very involved on campus? If you want to work in Higher Ed they generally like for people ot have a lot of on-campus experience, and within many different offices. So if you don’t already have that, I would consider staying to bulk up your on-campus experience a bit. If you do already have that, and you feel like you’ve gotten the most out of your experience, then sure – go for it and save the money.
Now regarding the masters – this is very important, you should under NO circumstance pay for your own masters in higher ed. At almost every college (I can’t think of one that doesn’t) you will be able to earn your masters for free if you are a full-time employee. So, when you are looking for full-time employement, make sure to look at schools that 1) offer the masters in higher ed and 2) provide tuition waivers/reimbusement.
Post # 7
@JrzyGurl: Thanks for the insight! I have worked with a bunch of departments on campus so far which is why I’m so sure of my path – haven’t loved my experience with Housing, but I’m absolutely in love with our Career Services and Admissions office! I will have great references from all of those departments as well. I was lucky to get involved early and will have 2+ years working with each of those departments even if I do graduate early.
Would you be comfortable telling me a little more about your experience (where you are for your masters, what you want to do, what other schools you considered, etc)? If you would rather PM me that would be great, I’ve just been talking to as many people as possible about their paths and would love to hear a little more about yours if you are comfortable sharing! I don’t really know what to look for in a school since Higher Ed isn’t one of the programs where rankings are super important. Also how hard did you find it to find employment full-time at a university? I would love to be able to get my master’s for free, but I know it can be really competitive to get a good office job (at least at my school).
Another option I have (and is probably the best one to be honest) is to do a senior underload, where I can take just the classes I need to graduate even if it’s fewer than 12 hours. If I do graduate a semester early, I can do it easily – 15 credits each my last two semesters and then 6 credits during the summer when I study abroad. Not a big deal, and I would still get my double major in.
Post # 8
I graduated two years early. I wish I had taken a third year to get more internship time in, but I wouldn’t have benefitted TOO much academically (there were only maybe 3 or 4 more classes (not even one quarter) that I wanted to take. Looking back I’m not totally sure why I didn’t take another quarter.. I guess I just wanted to walk and be done. I did not particularly love college. However, I also know now that those classes would not have helped me on my career path- experience is what matters, not classes. I also got a job straight out of college so I don’t regret it too much.
In your situation, I think you might as well- it sounds like you have a lot of experience/references. I don’t think I got a sense of timing from your post- would you be graduating in December? If I were you, I would get a job lined up before graduating. If you don’t find one in time, keep taking classes and keep interviewing to get something lined up for immediately after graduation.
Post # 9
@juliana192: I’ll work on a PM to you now!
Post # 10
Is it possible to spread the classes out over the year, and then add in an internship or related job part time? That experience would be more valuable IMO than graduating early. DEFINITELY do study abroad, though. Do whatever you have to do to make that happen. It’s an important and incredible experience!
Post # 11
Are you familiar with the NUFP program? You could do that. http://www.naspa.org/programs/nufp/