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How to graduate in four years

Can you graduate from the University of Minnesota in four years? Definitely, if you follow basic guidelines and plan carefully. Many students have graduated in four years. You can learn from their example. For more details on how this can work for you, contact the Student Affairs Office in your collegiate unit.

Basic guidelines

  • Complete a course load of 15 to 18 credits each semester.
  • Enroll in May and summer sessions to catch up or get ahead.
  • Avoid repeating courses.
  • Coordinate your liberal education courses with your major requirements.
  • Make full use of the academic advising available to you.
  • Decide on a major early and stick with it.
  • Put your effort and hours into school.
  • Schedule your time to fit your academic plan rather than work or extracurricular activities.
  • Seek help if you are having problems.

Four years: How did they do it?

Would you like to graduate in four years? Many Twin Cities campus students do. These students followed the basic guidelines. How did they do it?

  • They completed at least 15 credits every semester. The University of Minnesota requires a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. Many graduates finish with more than the minimum number of credits.
  • If they fell behind, they went to summer school to make up the credits. Summer classes can also be used to ease your academic load during the school year.
  • They did not repeat courses. They worked to get satisfactory grades in every class and they planned carefully to ensure that they met all requirements. Repeating courses to meet requirements or raise your GPA slows you down. Keeping current in all your assignments and readings and attending all class sessions works wonders toward getting a good grade in the first place.
  • They did not drop more than one or two classes during their college careers. Dropping courses wastes both time and money.
  • They took courses that met more than one requirement. For example, Econ 1101 is a required course for the Economics major, and it can be used for the liberal education Social Sciences core and Global Perspectives theme requirements. Econ 1101 can fulfill two liberal education requirements and a major program requirement.
  • They regularly met with their advisers. Meet often with your adviser, and when you do be prepared with ideas about which courses you would like to take. Also visit your adviser if you need other academic assistance. Use peer advisers if they are available in your program. Drop by your department office to check out information about department events, changes in programs, admission to upper division, deadlines, and other useful information.
  • They did not change majors. Every time you change your major, you come close to starting over. If you do not know which major you want, a common condition for new freshman, check the requirments for the majors you are interested in and take courses that are required by more than one program. You can certainly graduate in four years if you change your major, particularly if you change early in your freshman year, but with each change comes the possibility of stretching out your time in school.
  • They limited the number of hours they worked. For many students, the income from a part-time job is important for meeting tuition and living costs. Students who work up to ten hours a week even tend to earn better grades. When work takes up too much time, however, it interferes with studying. It may be cheaper in the long run to take that student loan, work fewer hours, and finish your degree on time.
  • They arranged their personal schedules around school, not the other way around. Registering for early morning or late afternoon sections of classes, when necessary, will help you to complete your program sooner.
  • They sought help with problems or personal difficulties as they arose.