Four years…..or Five


Megan Vogt, Opinion Editor

Every time you google a college of any sort, they have a “graduation rate” column under a few statistics. According to FAFSA, this rate is determined by the percentage of students who complete their degree in at least 150% of the time that the university deems. For example; UND has a graduation rate of 55% according to Google, which means 55% of students finish their 4-year degree in at most six years. 


To me, graduating in four years or less is an accomplishment, but it also is not for everyone. I personally transferred in over 40 credits from high school. I thought I was going to save a bunch of money, graduate in about three years, kick butt in my major and jump into the real world sooner than most. I later came to find out, by jumping from major to major, that I would have been miserable in any of those fields. It would have been fine, I would have a degree, but I knew that none of the majors I was in had paths in the future that were right for me. 


When it comes to credits, I was ahead of many people in my freshman class. However, I was so stuck on wanting to be one thing that I did not listen to my heart and be in the field that I knew I wanted to be in. I took classes in different majors and tried out new four-year plans, but nothing ever stuck until last spring semester. I knew I wanted to be something in the medical field, but I didn’t know what until having long conversations with other adults in my life. 


I decided that I really wanted to go into nursing. Here at UND, nursing is a program that you have to get accepted into, and most of my fellow sophomores were getting accepted into the program when I decided to change my major. 


I was the freshman that transferred in a bunch of credits to graduate early, but now I was the student who was going to be a fifth year. That was a huge pill to swallow because like I said, I was so excited to graduate early and get into the real world. 


As I talked to more people, the more I realized how common adding a semester or a year on to your college experience is. I realized that college is about finding your fit and finding what you want to do. College is also the time to explore so many different fields. According to the National Center for Education, about 80 percent of students in college change their major at least once, and on average change their major three times. 


In the end, it is not about how fast you finish your degree. It is about the quality of time and effort you put into your college experience, including studies and friendships. If you do graduate early, that is awesome! Keep up the incredible work, and go be an awesome leader or employee. But if you graduate in longer than four years, you are not behind, you are simply moving forward with your life and taking the necessary steps to do so.