Four-Year College Degree, May Actually Be a 5 or 6 Year Degree
$43,234 X 4 = $172,936, that’s how much Suzy’s college education will cost for her to graduate from a four-year school. Think again! As astronomical as that number sounds, multiply it by 5 or even 6 and then you might be closer to the total cost. As I often say about a four-year college degree: “6 is the new 4”. Why can this be the case? 80% of students change their major at least once and many of those a second time and each time you do, additional courses may need to be taken to fulfill that degree’s requirements and push you over to having to attend an extra semester or 2. Cha ching! Not happy at the college you are at and want to transfer since you may have not made the right choice the first go ‘round and 12 credits didn’t transfer to your new school? Add an extra semester on. Cha ching! “Earned” less than a C in a few of your courses. Add a semester on. Cha ching!
Though it’s been mentioned many times in the media, and on college sites, word still hasn’t reached the ears that need to hear it: parents and their high school children. According to the latest stats, less than half of students in four year universities graduate on time. A Bachelor’s degree is taking up to 6 years.
Why are we telling you this? Knowledge is power, knowledge means there are no heartbreaking letters from the college’s main office that you don’t have the credits to graduate, or realizing that your scholarships, grants and/or loans won’t cover the upcoming semester (since most will only cover four years).
What can you do up front to avoid this? College search is the foundation of the college admissions process and most parents and high school students don’t give it the proper attention to find the right place that fits you, socially, academically, financially and emotionally (Your SAFE match). Not sure what you want to major in? Why should you? You are 15, 16, 17. Take college courses that will fit the various buckets of a general education so when you do finally figure out what your major is your credits will easily transfer into the course requirements to graduate. Having a bit too much fun, not studying as much as you should and your grades fall? That could be a $50,000+ mistake and add 10 more years onto paying back loans well into your 30’s and even your 40’s.
Plan, plan and plan some more. As a very wise man said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.” It’s never too early to do so.