Graduating college is not like graduating High School. You make your own schedule; you decide how many credit hours to take at a time, and you are solely responsible for making sure you graduate on time. Don’t get caught unaware. Here are some tips for managing your path to graduation so you can graduate on time.
Tip #1: Stack Your Generals
Every college has a set number of general education requirements each student has to complete before they graduate. You will receive a list of these generals, what they are, and how to find them at graduation.
Before you sign up for your first semester, read over the list of general requirements. Then, keep this list of generals next to you as you register for classes. Chances are several classes count for more than one general requirement. Sign up for generals that count for more than one requirement wherever you can. So, you should register for classes as early as you possibly can because classes like this fill up fast.
Tip #2: Make a Graduation Pathway Plan
As soon as you choose a major, sit down and look at all the requirements for that major. Then, write up a graduation map for yourself. It is a good idea to sit down with your counselor to go over time sensitive courses and get an accurate idea of what classes you should be taking and when.
Tip #3: Go Full Time
A lot of students decide to go to school part-time and work part-time. If you intend to graduate in four years, this is probably not possible. If you can’t go to school full time, be prepared to take summer semester. In fact, even if you do go to school full-time, be prepared that you may have to take one or two summer semester courses anyway.
For your first two semesters, it is ok to take only twelve credit hours. However, by your third semester, you should be taking around fifteen credit hours if you want to graduate on time. By your final semesters, it is not uncommon for students to take seventeen to eighteen credit hours.
Tip #4: Make College a Top Priority
Class attendance and study time can fall by the wayside for some new students leading them to fail courses. While failure happens, it is a shame when it didn’t have to happen. Make class attendance and study time a top priority. Failing classes can potentially push back your graduation date.
Tip #5: Check Your Plan Regularly
It is wise to review your plan at least twice a semester. Make sure you are still on track for graduation whenever you sign up for classes, and whenever you get your final grades. Stay in contact with your counselor to make sure your plan still looks on track on their end, and advocate for yourself.
A little planning can make managing your path to graduation simple. It is mostly a matter of getting organized, and sticking to your plan. Work hard and manage your time wisely, and your graduation date will come along sooner than you realize.