Is taking a 5th year that big of a deal?

So I found out that I have to take a 5th year, so that I will graduate in 2022 instead of 2021, and I’m feeling really insecure. All my friends are so excited to graduate and I just feel bad for falling behind. I’m trying to look to the positive, like I have an extra summer to do an internship (if I can get one during COVID), but the whole thing is kind of a huge downer. Will this affect my career prospects? Any 5th year graduates to offer advice? I appreciate your perspective :). Thank you!

Employers won’t notice or care. At large state schools it can be difficult to get the classes needed to do it in four years. Gap years are common. It won’t matter.

It ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT matter AT ALL. I took 2 years off in the middle of college for personal reasons. Only you care about it, no one else does. I am pretty sure you will be even more successful than your peers who graduated a year earlier.

The only downside to going a fifth year is that you have to pay for a fifth year.

Do you need two extra semesters, or just one?

Lots of students take more than 8 semesters to graduate from college for various reasons, so it would not be seen as unusual.

Obviously, the downside of needing an extra semester is needing to pay for it, while delaying your start of (intended-to-be) better paying work after graduation.

In terms of future career success, it may come down to the lottery of whether economy and industry conditions are better sooner or later. Entering the workforce during better economic and industry conditions tends to lead to more career success (those who enter during worse economic and industry conditions tend to have worse career success, sometimes ending their careers before starting them due to never being able to find an entry-level job during an economic or industry downturn).

Just money, and scholarship money may be more limited. My kids both would have run out of scholarship money which was limited to 8 semesters (and one that was limited to 120 credits, which did run out in the last semester anyway).

Nope! I took longer - and got into a very competitive grad program of my choice. Also, Covid screwed everything up. People almost expect to see a hiccup. lol. Don’t sweat it.

Yeah I agree!

Yes, the cost was the downside that first came to my mind.

I think that you’ll be considered as a graduate with a x.xx GPA and Y internships/experience, just as anyone else.

Needing to take an additional year due to course failures/repeats/etc. would be an issue, but mostly because of the impact on GPA, not the extended duration itself.