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Do you want your kids to graduate early?

tnn01tnn01 Posts: 76Registered User Junior Member
edited December 2009 in Parents Forum
Dear wise parents,

My parents want me to graduate a year early because of financial reasons. I pay full tuition and board at a private college and my brother does also. Since I have a lot of AP credits, I can graduate early with a major and a minor. I am also a year older than everyone else in my year (I turned 20 summer before sophomore year--long story). It makes a lot of sense to graduate early since college is very expensive for my family.

My parents would like to not only save money but also help me get started on my career. They would rather have me work [they claim they are well-networked for jobs] then experience college more.

I'm worried about several things:
1) Not having the best GPA due to less time to pull it up
2) Not getting job offers
3) At a disadvantage for going to school for only 3 years

I consider myself mature for my age and my year but I'm hesitant on graduating early.

What are your opinions?
Post edited by tnn01 on
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Replies to: Do you want your kids to graduate early?

  • amarkovamarkov Posts: 2,288Registered User Senior Member
    If everything else were equal, I'd certainly say to take the extra year. But if each year you spend in college is a significant financial hardship, then certainly just graduate in 3. There's really no disadvantage to that; you have the same degree you could have gotten a year later, so what does anyone care when precisely you got it?
  • TheDadTheDad Posts: 10,213Registered User, ! Senior Member
    Another vote for staying for four years. Ten years from now, the extra cost will seem small, the extra experience great.
  • calmomcalmom Posts: 16,459Registered User Senior Member
    What year are you now?
  • bookwormbookworm Posts: 4,728Registered User Senior Member
    I graduated in 3 years, but I knew I was headed for grad school. I was eager to leave my college. There was no disadvantage for job or grad school.

    Perhaps you could compromise, and go for one more semester, to improve GPA. Or, leave early, but find work in your field to gain experience. So much depends on how happy you are at your college, if there are classes or labs you wish to take, etc.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Posts: 2,962Registered User Senior Member
    I don't want my kids to graduate early, but with your parents paying in full for 2 children, I can understand why they want you to! If you really want to stay in school another year, can you offer to pay them back for that 4th year once you are out and working? It is a lot of money you could save them. Many kids turn 20 when they are entering sophomore year, my son will be, I don't think that really matters much.
  • FallGirlFallGirl Posts: 4,223Registered User Senior Member
    D is on track to graduate one semester early (due to AP credits). She is actually in favor of this as the agreement is that she will pay for her Senior year. As long as she is able to keep her grades up I have no problem with it.

    But she is only a freshman, so the situation may change. We'll see.
  • MansfieldMansfield Posts: 463Registered User Member
    S will finish up a semester early because of AP credits. He will graduate with his class in May. In the meantime, he will stay in his off-campus apartment with his friends and return to his paid summer internship, continue looking for a job and wait for grad school responses. The tuition money we are saving will be his to use towards any post grad education/expenses. Its a good solution for him.
  • MagnoliaMomMagnoliaMom Posts: 435User Awaiting Email Confirmation Junior Member
    If it weren't for the financial concerns of your parents, I would urge you to stay the extra year. However, I understand financial concerns and graduating early won't hurt you. Maybe a compromise where you begin an internship or job through your parents networking connections while you're still in school but taking fewer classes and graduate a semester early? Or even for the last year - lighter course load while interning or working. I actually started my first *real* job out of grad school when I had one course left to graduate over the summer so I was working full time except for the one class I was taking.

    I was always one of the youngest in my class. Because of AP credits, I graduated one semester early even after changing my major from engineering to business. My dad said if I would graduate early and move home to save living expenses, he'd pay for me to go straight through to grad school, which I did. Only problem was when I graduated, I was *so* young still with all this education and very little life or work experience. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like it hurt me because the advanced degree made me a very competitive job applicant in a down market but I always felt like I would have benefitted more by getting more experience along the way as I went through school and not being in such a rush to graduate. But my dad was paying for everything, so I did it his way. In hindsight, I'd push for a compromise if it's financially feasible.

    DD will graduate in May after 4 years with 2 degrees including work experience in her field. She could have graduated one year early because of AP credits but she stayed in school because she has a 4 year full ride scholarship and used the time to add the second degree. If it weren't for the scholarship, it might have been a different story for her.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 35,836Registered User Senior Member
    I pay full tuition and board at a private college and my brother does also.

    Your parents are asking you to save them roughly $40K to $50K for finishing early. That is a lot of money. Perhaps they have a financial reason for wanting you to consider this option. Also, you say they can help you with the job search with connections they have. So..I'm not sure I understand your concern about finding a job. It sounds like your parents can help you in this regard.

    What are the reasons you want to stay in undergrad for an additional year? What IS your GPA and why do you feel raising it is important. You do know that as you accumulate more credits, it (mathmatically) becomes increasingly more difficult to increase your GPA.
  • beth's mombeth's mom Posts: 2,365Registered User Senior Member
    I graduated early when I was in college (many years ago!) for financial reasons. I didn't have many AP credits (this was 30 years ago and AP wasn't as available), but I loaded up on courses (18+ credits a semester) and did an additional 7 credits during the winter session of a 4/1/4 schedule so that I was ready to graduate with a double major after 3 years. I was paying for college completely on my own and planning to go to law school, and my savings were depleted. In hindsight, I can say without a doubt that spending the full 4 years on campus and not loading up as I did would have been a much better idea. I had an excellent GPA, but I could have gotten a lot more from the college experience if I'd had the luxury to do it over 4 years. Another thing I can say in hindsight is that I did not have the maturity at that point to go into the professional world. I'm not sure I had that maturity a year later, either, but at least I was a year closer to having it. I had worked a variety of low paying, non-professional jobs since I was 14 but I still don't think I was ready (maturity wise, not ability wise) for a Big 8 Accounting job (yes, it was the Big 8 back then) or something like that. This wasn't an issue for me since I was continuing in school, but it sounds like you're planning to go straight into the working world. In any event, my bottom line is that I do not want my children to graduate early, and we're prepared to fund 4 years of undergrad.

    However, I obviously fully understand graduating early for financial reasons. If it's putting a burden on your parents and there's no way you can pick up the slack yourself, then I think that's what you should do. If your parents can get you a job in spite of a GPA you're not happy with, then go for it.
  • stevensmamastevensmama Posts: 579Registered User Member
    I graduated in 3 years with a full year of credit from College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests. My brother was starting college and my parents couldn't afford to have us both in school at the same time. As much as I enjoyed college, in my mind I couldn't justify making my parents pay for a fourth year when it wasn't necessary. I wasn't there for the "college experience," I was there for a degree.
    My parents would like to not only save money but also help me get started on my career. They would rather have me work [they claim they are well-networked for jobs] then experience college more.

    You seem to be expressing doubt that your parents are as well-networked for jobs as they claim. Do they know anyone in your chosen field?
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,152Registered User Senior Member
    Our son has enough credits to graduate early, but he's still got courses he wants to take and maybe courses he has to take - not sure. What we'd really like him to do is also get his Masters his fourth year, but he doesn't want to do a thesis. He's convinced he'd have to write something. Horrors! We can afford it, but we won't be paying for grad school - that will be on his dime if he ever wants to go. (Unless he does the Masters next year.)
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,385Registered User Senior Member
    My good friend and her husband agreed last year to a 4th year (this year) with the understanding the D would "take" the early graduation and work on a master's during the fourth year and not just take additional undergrad courses to add a fourth year. It's really going to very family by family on financial resources, attitudes about BA/BS, etc.
  • TheDadTheDad Posts: 10,213Registered User, ! Senior Member
    The bits about age and maturity resonate. D took four years to graduate and had the good fortune to find a job in a high-energy environment right away. After 20 months, we're finally not hearing as many comments about being the youngest in the office (of 90?+) and even her group's intern being older than her.

    She handled everything fine and fit in well but the age thing still unnerved her for a while.
  • nngmmnngmm Posts: 5,708Registered User Senior Member
    There certainly can be advantages to staying for 4 years. Both grad schools and some employers look not only at your degree, but at courses taken/grades earned, and if you take more advanced courses that result in deeper knowledge and understanding in your field of study, it can help a lot.

    On the other hand, I don't buy the "pull up my GPA" argument. If your GPA is low now, nothing guarantees it will go up given extra year, especially if you will be (hopefully!) taking harder classes.

    And if your parents are paying the 40-50K/year, and do not see the value of you staying the extra year, you'll have to come with a better reason for them than to get "4 years of college life experience". As a parent, I would not be impressed with that. (And I am saying it as a parent of 2 kids who could have graduated in 3 years, but did not - and I supported their decision, as it made sense to me at the time, and proved to be the right one afterwords.)
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