According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 57 percent of college students nationwide graduate within six years. Just 36 percent of students graduate in the typically prescribed four years.
But what about the overachieving, practical-thinking workhorses that walk down the aisle in three years, after some combination of AP classes and summer semesters? With many universities beginning to tailor degrees toward students looking to spend less time, there seem to be plenty of people considering a three-year Bachelor of No Fun.
“During difficult times at work I sometimes sit back and wish for college life,” admits Stefania Veneziale, who graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from La Salle University in four years. She currently works 45 to 70 hours a week as a CPA at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “But I definitely think it was right for me ... and it didn’t stop me from making friends, going to parties and doing all the normal things college kids do.”
Three years of undergrad did not, however, provide much time for courses outside of her career track, and more than a few former three year-ers said they wish they took more time to explore intellectually.
“I know there are lots of financial reasons, but college is about so much more than a career,” says author Elaine Fantle Shimberg, who graduated early from Northwestern University in 1958. “There is so much maturing that happens, both intellectually and practically. It’s really the best time of life in many ways.”