Typically when you think about college, you think about it taking up four years of your life (or longer). Although I thoroughly enjoy college and all of the rigorous work, I constantly think about being done and having a “big girl” job. With that being said, when I heard someone mention “graduating early,” I had to look into it.
I went to my academic advisor and asked if graduating early was even possible for me. Shockingly, he said yes. Both of us looked into how many credits I would have to take each semester and the required classes needed for my major. My advisor told me he thought it was a great idea to try and graduate a semester early. He mentioned the benefits of starting the job search early and bringing joy to my bank account.
Every major at Grove City College has a Status Sheet which gives the required hours for each major and a suggested four-year course plan. Looking at mine (for Marketing Management), I noticed that some semesters only had 14 or 15 credit hours listed while others had the maximum of 17. If I tried to graduate a semester early, I realized that I would most likely need to have 17 credits each semester. Even then, I still would not have enough hours to graduate. I had to look at my options.
My options would be to take online classes, which the College offers, or take over 17 credit hours during some semesters. I decided to go with the online class option. I have taken two of them so far through Grove City College, and have been delighted with the payoff. Both of my online courses were over our winter breaks, which allowed me to spend time with family and friends as well as gain credit hours. And if you decide not to graduate early, online courses are a great way to lighten your regular semester course load.
Another way I added credit hours was by completing a summer internship. I worked in the Marketing and Operations departments of a bank. I was able to earn four credits toward my major requirements through this experience which made it all the more worth while. I highly recommend internships for the work experience, but it is also extremely beneficial to receive college credit for them as well. Also, just as a side note, employers highly consider prospective employees that have done an internship. More importantly, the internships done for college credit can be checked out by the company you worked for along with your faculty sponsor at the College: win, win.
With all of that being said, it is absolutely possible to graduate a semester early. With the help of your advisor and by planning out the remainder of your semesters, obtaining that degree a little sooner than normal means substantial monetary savings as well as a jump on the job market.