Is it Ok not to graduate in 4 years?

I started college recently and I am worried that I don’t believe I will graduate in 4 years for a variety of reasons. First is money, I think in the future I will take a semester off or go to school part time for a semester to save money so that might delay my education. I also don’t know exactly what I want to do in the future, I am currently majoring in international relations but might switch majors to international business or double major in economic. I also might transfer and with that some of my credits might not transfer. All of this things could delay my education so I wanted to if it is common to to graduate in 4 years? Would employers penalize me if they see this? Would this effect me in any other way?

Yes, it’s OK. Employers will not care.

People take more than 4 years for many, many reasons. The most common is money is you’re in the majority there. The important thing is to plan it out so that you’re taking the fewest classes, etc as possible in order to minimize the amount of money you spend. In other words, if you decide that you want to switch to international business, it’s better to do it earlier so that you aren’t taking unnecessary IR classes. (Though there is probably a lot of overlap between the two.)

Don’t sweat it and good luck!

Actually, some colleges even encourage gap years before starting colleges as they will delay your matriculation for a year or two, so that might help you kind of work yourself in that time period. Also, don’t worry about your un-decision. That’s what colleges are made and designed for: exploration.

If you can afford it, sure. If you can’t, then try and take up extra units each semester like I am to graduate early.

Totally. I do personally know of people who have, are currently, or are planning to take a fifth year. They maybe took time off to do a fall or winter semester internship or co-op, or need additional semesters to fulfill the requirements for professional school if that is their goal. It really is not that uncommon.

If your goal is graduate or professional school, taking beyond a fourth year won’t be frowned upon provided that your reason for doing so is not because you frequently withdrew from classes or only took minimum credits each semester.

There’s a reason why schools publish 6 year graduation rates as a metric, one of them being that there are many reasons why students don’t or can’t graduate in four years. You will by no means be alone. (My own father went to college one class at a time as he could afford it during my entire childhood with the goal of completing a Bachelor’s degree before I graduated from high school–he did it while holding down a pretty intense job and raising a family, and it did take 17 years).

But if you are going full time in a given semester…don’t take only 12 credits when you could take 15 for the same cost.

The same economic cost. 12 units vs. 15 units may have the same accounting cost in dollars, but just remember that other costs are incurred as well, namely in your time, but also in what you would otherwise do with that extra time, say such as working and actually making money. It’s a subjective determination though.

I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Taking time off before starting grad school is perfectly fine, but it looks a lot better to finish undergrad in 4 years. It shows you can commit to something and finish it, unless there are extenuating circumstances at play.

My boyfriend took around 8 years to finish. He was in the Navy for a couple of years and he changed his major/schools. He also didn’t want to have any debt, plus he actually was able to earn money through his stocks/the odd job. So I don’t think its bad from my perspective. Also a lot of my friends/peers in my department are older so I don’t really see the stigma.

Sample size of one:

I have reviewed thousands of resumes over the years (25+ years in public accounting). I have never once done the math on how long they spent in college. 2.5. years or 7 years, it’s all the same to me.

More power to those who blast right through, but no problem if you take longer.

All most employers care about is what your skill set is and what can do with that skill set. It usually doesn’t matter if the skills were acquire in 1 year or 10. As long as you can prove you have the skills and the ability to learn new skills you should be fine.

Thank you. I wanted to have some real perspective into how employers would see it or if they even ask for that kind of information.