Low Four-Year Graduation Rate?

<p>I read somewhere that Chicago's four-year graduation rate was 83%. Is there any specific reason that it's this low? How would an undergrad avoid having to stay "longer than usual"?</p>

<p>That's not very low at all, in fact it's right up there with it's peer group and is pretty high considering how Chicago's notoriously tough academics.</p>

<p>First, 83% (it was 84.6% for the newest data I could find -- 2005), puts Chicago basically right in the middle of the pack of peers (Yale, Harvard, Duke, Princeton, and Penn are higher; Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Grinnell and Northwestern are within a percentage point of Chicago; Emory, Carleton, and WashU are a few points lower; Johns Hopkins, Rice, and Stanford are below 80%). Top public college are much generally lower (69.7% at Michigan, 58.3% at Cal-Berkeley, for example)</p>

<p>Almost every non-science major can be completed in two years, so getting one's major done on time is seldom a problem (most are 12-13 courses, which is only one academic year, but prerequisites and such things means you need probably six quarters, at least, to complete most majors). The Core is about 18 courses, total. So between the core and major, you have 30 classes. You have to take 42 classes to graduate, so throw in 12 electives, and you can be done in four years if you take 4 classes 1/2 the time and 3 the other half. Most students actually take more classes than that, and are technically done, perhaps with the exception of turning a final copy of a BA research paper if they have one, before their last quarter of 4th year. In that case, the last quarter at Chicago is basically just taking classes just to learn stuff. Some students also drop to part-time or take leaves of absence in the final quarter. </p>

<p>The only thing that would probably cause extra time to be necessary is deciding after first year to switch from a totally non-science major to a science major. Otherwise, things that prevent graduation in four years are typically more related to personal issues. Getting enough credits is not an issue.</p>

<p>So to avoid staying beyond four years, just don't completely ignore the things you need complete to graduate (and if there's a chance you might want to go to medical school or be a science major, start on that track as a first-year [you have to take some science anyway, so the worst-case scenario is that you took harder classes than you needed to to meet the Core requirement]).</p>

<p>Thanks a ton, Maroon. That really cleared things up.</p>

<p>"The only thing that would probably cause extra time to be necessary is deciding after first year to switch from a totally non-science major to a science major. Otherwise, things that prevent graduation in four years are typically more related to personal issues. Getting enough credits is not an issue."</p>

<p>Right. This is true at most of UC's peers, too.</p>