5 Year Plan Dated

Callen Clark, Reporter

Students on the “five year plan” – those who take five years to complete the credits required for a four-year Bachelor’s degree – are so common in the U.S.

It’s become cliché, but some students are taking the opposite approach and graduating in three.

“Does it happen? Rarely, but there are a couple that I do recall. Usually those students have some credits loaded up coming in that would help them achieve that goal,” said Admissions Director Glenn Bozinski.

He recalls one student in particular who enrolled in the mid 2000’s. She had been homeschooled and she had already completed 30 college credits prior to enrolling in college.

“Cases like these are becoming more common among high school students. Kids are taking more AP credits, and more high school kids are taking dual enrollment courses with local community colleges. This makes it so that students are coming in with more credits.”

He also noted that when the student entered college, all of her previously earned credits transferred in. She had completed the freshman year that would have been offered to her as a first year nursing major, and achieving her goal of completing college in three years became that much easier.

“She was basically able to start as a sophomore and get out in three years. It’s an extreme rarity, but with proper planning I can’t see why students wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Bozinski.

He said planning requires noting which courses students need go- ing into the first year of their major. He notes that the three year nursing student knew she would need certain physiology courses to complete her degree. She came that much closer to her goal by getting them done early.

Average full-time tuition is $13,335 with a $770 general fee per semester. Students who register 18 or more credits are charged an extra $515 per credit.

“If a student fully reduces their time to three years, they’re not going to reduce the cost by a quarter because they’re going to have to get those credits another way, probably through summer semesters. They’ll spend some, but they’ll certainly save some.”

The average student needs to have completed a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. If they choose to accomplish that goal in three years without attending summer classes, it comes to taking 20 credits each semester, which would mean they would have to pay the extra $515 per credit fee.

To use the summer strategy, they would have to complete a minimum of six credits every summer, and they would be charged the same $515 per credit.

Bozinski identifies another ben- efit to the three year plan.

“The other gain that people might not think about is that if you graduate a year earlier, you will have one year earlier that you’re in the workforce and be earning whatever your salary is coming out of school. If you graduate a year early, you could make your starting salary would be out of college. If you make $40,000 for a year that brings you $40,000 ahead for your life.”

He cautions students to understand articulation agreements between schools if they hope to transfer credits. For example, students who go to Luzerne County Community College will probably be able to transfer to Misericordia with almost all of their existing credits because of agreements between the schools.

Bozinski adds that a three year plan may not be possible with all major programs. But if students research their major programs and plan early, three years can work.

“For students going with the high school approach, who would go for dual enrollment and such, you would probably want to make that decision before your senior year of high school – for a student who is going to utilize their summers heavily, I would say before the end of their senior year of high school. They would want to use that summer in between high school and college to quickly knock off nine credits and then subsequently use every summer after that to reach their goal.”

Students already at the end of their high school senior year who want to complete a three year degree may need to apply for at least one 18 or higher credit summer schedule.

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