Some lessen college time and graduate early

By Megan Cavanaugh

If college is the best time of our lives, shouldn’t we try to prolong the experience?

Although many students get a four-year degree, it often takes them more than four years to complete it.

According to an article in USA Today, the top four reasons why students haven’t been graduating on time are “a lack of clear plan­ning or advising, change of majors, change of univer­sities and unnecessary courses taken.”

graduating-1
Fall commencement is Dec. 9 at 3:30 p.m. Some students are graduating earlier than four years. Could this be you? Photo by Jasmine Zhang

Yet there are always a few that are able to gradu­ate early. These students have either clear advising, haven’t changed majors or universities, or simply brought in credits.

An opportunity that is not widely communicated is College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Through this program, students are able to take tests to pass out of certain courses, like an addition to the SAT or ACT tests. Some Bethany students have utilized this program using the knowl­edge they learned from high school courses or the study materials CLEP gives.

Senior Elizabeth Heitman, a Legal Studies major, had planned it out since the end of sophomore year.

“I had to figure it out on my own,” she said. “I sat down, calculated it on my own and figured out I could graduate a year early.”

Her transfer in of 35 cred­its from advanced place­ment (AP) classes and CLEP tests also helped.

All of her semesters weren’t over exhausting either, though she took ‘an average of 17 credits a semester, a couple 21 semes­ters, but some less.’

She will finish the year with an internship in the law field and prepare for the next chapter of her life, whether it be work­ing or law school.

Senior Megan Tonn has a similar story. Coming in with a year of post-second­ary enrollment opportunity (PSEO) from Southwest Minnesota State Univer­sity in Marshall, Minn., she had an advantage.

“I came in with 14 cred­its and used the head start to jump start my college career to get my degree early,” Tonn said.

Tonn overloaded her credits every semester to be able to graduate early.

She will be graduating on Dec. 9.

Contrary to Tonn or Heit­man’s experience, senior Kelly Reed’s is different.

Reed came to Bethany with a total of 27 credits (from AP classes and CLEP tests). She only planned on graduating a semester early.

“I thought I was only grad­uating a semester early,” said Reed. “I was reading the academic catalogue wrong. So Angie Jahr helped me figure out I could gradu­ate a year early.”

Not all who could graduate early choose to. This is the case for Olivia Lippert who is considered a senior.

“I probably could gradu­ate early with [having taken] PSEO credits, but I want to study abroad to Spain instead. I don’t know when I’ll do that though.”

These students and more who graduate earlier than the “norm” prove that it is possible to excel beyond the expected.

Sources: college.usato­day.com and clep.colleg­eboard.org

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