It is actually still possible to graduate in four years


By Taurean Small

As another semester draws closer to its end, I begin the countdown of how many months are left until I graduate.

I’m a sophomore now, so by the end of May, I would hope to only have roughly 24 left to complete. What can I say? I’m a bit of a dreamer.

I aspire to be a part of the minority here at NIU known as “the four-year graduates.” Contrary to popular belief, they actually exist, although they make up only 23 percent of this campus, according to Forbes.

While many people come to college for the experience, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I came here to graduate.

I have no plans to linger during my undergraduate years, mainly because it costs entirely too much to do so. Why stay and pay another few thousand dollars to get a degree that you could have gotten sooner?

I should note that it is not entirely the intentions of the other 77 percent to stay here longer. Many students have complained about the lack of guidance they have received.

“My roommate tells me all the time that her academic advisor is useless,” said senior journalism major Emem Ikafia. “There is only one advisor in [her] department so she can’t even see another advisor for a second opinion.”

These students seem to have become dependent on advisors because they have not created their own college completion plans. Advisors see thousands of students over the course of a year.

It is impossible for them to personalize a plan specific to each student. Students should make a note to use advisors as a supplement to their own plans.

How will you know what classes to take in order to finish in four years, you ask? Refer to your student handbook you received during orientation.

Another handy tool to stay on track is the “Four Year Undergraduate Degree Path” offered by the Office of Student Academic Success.

“A four-year degree path is a resource that shows a sample semester-by-semester schedule of how it could look like to complete a particular major in four years,” said Jason Goode, student success specialist for the college of liberal arts and sciences.

The four-year degree paths allow students to plan their degree programs from start to finish and monitor how they are progressing towards earning a degree in a four-year period so it is essential for any student seeking the second opinion about necessary courses.

While advisors may be criticized by many students, they should not be disregarded.

“Academic advisors can help students see how their current progress is helping them meet the university graduation requirements,” Goode said.

If there are still hurdles to overcome, your best bet would be to enroll in summer courses.

Though it may seem like a nuisance now, it will end up being very beneficial when graduation time approaches.

Simple steps like these can be taken to avoid losing count of how many months it is going to take to achieve what probably could have been accomplished in four years.