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How to Graduate Earlier

By Ziye Jin

Many people are struggling with college. One reason could be that it takes too long to graduate, and the work that you put in is so different from high school. I know a lot of people that dropped out of college in two years and couldn’t continue. Due to this, I’m sure a lot of people want to graduate earlier. Here are some tips to help you.

Make the most of your summer and/or winter recess.

From my personal experience, I spent three or four summers taking classes. Different from high school, we have three months of vacation. Personally, I feel like it's too long if you are not planning to go on a vacation. So I took one or two classes in the summer. You can do that if you are in a similar situation to mine. If you are working a part-time job in the summer, you can find a class that is online and have a different time period from the time you spend working.

Take more credits each semester, if you can.

There is a semester map online at, you can use this to check what classes you will need to take to graduate from your major. For the general elective classes or liberal arts courses, talk to your advisor about what classes you can take online(which means you don’t have to go to class, but you have to self-learn and do work every week). However, you need to make sure that the class is counted for the credit, or else you will go off track and waste your time.

Talk to your advisor about your plan, and see if it works for you.

When I told my advisor how I plan out my every semester, she helped me with it. My advisor is Maria Dinanno. She is a student advisement specialist for the School of Management. She said:

1. School of Management lists three-year degree plans on the website: It requires 18 credits per semester and summer study.

2. Students who want to graduate early should remember that it is more important to do college brilliantly than to do it quickly. Your college career, while brief, will affect the rest of your life. You may want to go on to graduate school or law school later, and you will need your best performance on record to be able to do so.

3. Take the time to get to know and interact with the faculty and your peers and participate in activities beyond the classroom. This investment in time will enrich your experience now and will pay dividends in the future.

Therefore, in my opinion, it is very important to talk with your advisor because some classes are only offered in the spring or fall. You need to plan ahead and make sure you follow it.

Peer Advice

Vivian Jewoola:

“I will say try to take 6 classes per semester, and to not give up, and also try to join clubs so also have a social life while still being in school! I believe in them and they got this!”

Jordan Vallone:

“I would say that graduating early is super beneficial in terms of cost. I didn’t have to take out extra, unnecessary loans. But the advice I’d give is if someone is on track to graduate early, they should be ready to combat some prejudice. It is extremely important to understand your own value, keep your head held high, and always be your number one advocate.”

What advice would you give to some freshmen if they want to graduate earlier? Leave some comments and let me know.

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1 Comment

Monika Rohde
Monika Rohde
Dec 16, 2022

This is a great article, Ziye, thanks! My recommendation would be to meet with your First Year Advisor who can create a Graduation plan with you and discuss options for accelerating your graduation date! :)

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