Graduating in 4 Years

<p>Last week, a guy came into our class and talked a bit about the differences between public and private universities. He mentioned that at a public school, the 4-yr graduation rate is extremely low compared to private universities. According to him, this is because it is difficult to get into certain classes (and switching majors, though he didn't emphasize on that much). What do you guys think? For those of you (or perhaps know someone) who were unable to graduate within 4 years, could you tell me why not?</p>

<p>Also, this is not related to the topic...but apprx. how many courses are each of you taking per semester/quarter?</p>

<p>This may be the case with many public schools, but not all. According to the data on US News, 2 schools in particular (UVa and Willam & Mary) have graduation rates above 90%. </p>

<p>What you should do is meet with your advisor every semester. I believe most schools public or private pair students with advisors. (I could be wrong.) If you're not sure about your major, take an assortment of classes in areas that interest you. After you decide on an academic direction, work out a schedule of classes with your advisor. Figure out what are the required classes for your major(s) and break them down by semester so you can strategize when you can take them. Talk to upperclassmen who are in your major to find out who the good and bad professors are and whose classes are hard to get into. If a class is difficult to get into, meet with the professors ahead of time, so they could put a face with a name. Show them how passionate you are about your major and your interest in their classes, so when it's time to actually take their class, you would be one of the lucky chosen because the professors know who you are and that you're a serious student. </p>

<p>When I was in college, I took an average of 5 classes a semester.</p>

<p>I think that a lot of public universities have low graduation rates, but there's a variety of factors that contribute to that. First of all, for the flagship state schools(not talking UVA, Michigan, but the easier 2nd to 3rd tier colleges), it isn't very difficult to get in. Plenty of people can get into some state schools(Alabama, LSU, etc) and have 3.1s and 1030s on the SAT. So, when you throw those people into a really rigorous academic environment, and throw lot of beer in front of them, many are not going to succeed. Also, lots of publics have "weed out" classes for freshman, to find out who will make it and who won't.</p>

<p>I also think that if you have one student with parents paying 40,000 and another paying 6000, it's easier to fail or screw up, B/C it's cheap.</p>

<p>Was the graduation rate something that you guys considered or affected your final decision when selecting which college to go to?</p>

<p>OK, it really depends on the university. Look at each school individually, not because it's public or not.</p>

<p>No, I didn't really think about when I was visiting schools, but a high graduation rate shows that a school is committed to graduating its students rather than just letting them be perpetual students or worse dropping out. It gives some indication that there is a support network in place to help students along, so they're not lost in the system. </p>

<p>Let me give you an example. The average African-American graduation rate in the country is 39%. UVa's African-American graduation rate is about 89%/90% - the highest among all public schools. It's a rate that's 20 points higher than the next public school, which if I remember correctly is the University of New Hampshire or Vermont. It's also higher than 5 Ivy League schools and Duke. How is UVa able to do this? It has a strong network of deans, mentors, and advisors in place to help black students all 4 years at school. I think this is a big deal considering UVa's past as an all-white, all male institution. Remember that the South was still dealing w/ segregation 40 years ago. Plus, UVa only started admitting women (like several Ivy League schools) in 1970. Now, women slightly outnumber men.</p>

<p>I highly doubt that class scheduling difficulties are the main reason for low graduation rates at public universities. As other posters pointed out, public school students tend be to less wealthy, are more likely to work during school, and are more likely to drop out due to financial difficulties or laziness due to its lower costs. Switching majors is something that most college students do, so I don't see how that would affect graduation rates at public schools more than at private ones. For the majority of majors, there isn't such a large number of required classes that being unable to take certain ones would delay graduation. For example, most liberal arts majors require around 30-45 required credit hours out of the 120 total needed to graduate. Even if you didn't declare the major until junior year, you could still (numerically anyway) complete the entire major in 2 years if you had to. Some majors like Engineering are very structured, so they may have a large number of required classes, but so many people switch their majors out of Engineering that it's usually not a problem anyway.</p>

<p>Based on attending public institutions, you generally have a harder time graduating in the 4 year period than that of a good private institution. However, this is a very general rule. There are a lot of factors that cause this or can overcome this problem such as:</p>

<p>a. whether the institution encourages internships. If they do then 4 year graduation rates will decline.</p>

<p>b. Budget for the year: This can result in a decrease in the number of sections available for courses. UCSD has a reputation for having this problem, although that may be hearsay.</p>

<p>c. Honors program availability: Honors kids generally register first. They usually don't have registration problems.</p>

<p>d. Lower academic standards: This was mentioned above. If a school has lower academic standards, there may be lower graduation rates. This dosn't mean that it is a bad school. On the contrary, it may have high standards.</p>

<p>e. Not enough sections: Although I do believe that this happens at a number of public institutions, it can be a problem for private schools as well, especialy for the larger private school. I don't think that all private schools are immune from this problem simply because they are private schools.</p>

<p>I am sure that there are other factors that I haven't even thought of..</p>

<p>I, thus, would not assume that you will necessarily take longer to graduate if you are in a public institution vs. a private college.</p>

<p>I have to agree w/ Hoo_29 and say you have to look at the schools individually. You shouldn't make your decision based on graduation rates alone. If you're a highly motivated student, you'll most likely graduate anyway. </p>

<p>When it comes to deciding the right college for you, look at the totality of each school. Find out if the schools you're interested in have your intended major(s). If you're interested in research, see if those schools have research opportunities. Find out about the financial aid packages, scholarships, honors programs, student-professor interaction and teachers' commitment to teaching (not just research). Ask yourself if you want a more intellectual or social collegiate experience. </p>

<p>What you can do perhaps is create a chart that lists the things that are important to you so that you can write down what each school offers and compare them.</p>