View Poll Results: How old were you when you got your BA/BS/equivalent 4yr degree?
younger than 20 5 2.03%
20 13 5.28%
21 69 28.05%
22 67 27.24%
23 26 10.57%
24 12 4.88%
25 7 2.85%
26 8 3.25%
27 5 2.03%
28 5 2.03%
29 3 1.22%
30 or over 26 10.57%
30 or over, but still within 4 years of beginning 0 0%
Voters: 246. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 05-22-2019, 10:09 PM
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How old were you when you got a 4-year university or college degree?


How old were you when you graduated from a college or university with a BA, BS, or other four-year degree?

Studies show that most people take six years to earn their bachelor’s degree, and only 19% of people graduate in 4 years. How about you?

I graduated with a BA almost six weeks after my 22nd birthday, and I don't feel like I was that young...of course, I didn't realize at the time that only 5% of college students with ADHD like I'd been graduate at any age vs ~35% of people more neurotypical, so what do I know?

Poll coming up!
  #2  
Old 05-22-2019, 10:37 PM
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Oops, voted wrong. One of your 21s is really a 22.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:49 PM
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For what it's worth, undergraduate degrees in the U.K. usually take 3 years.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-22-2019 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:37 PM
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I was two weeks shy of 35.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:39 PM
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22. It took me four years to get my BBA, but I went to summer school during two summers in order to get done "on time."
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:59 PM
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I was 22. When I went to high school in Ontario back in the 1970s, we had five years of high school (not four). So you graduated at 18, went to a four-year bachelor's program, and graduated at 22.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:11 AM
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I was 19. My mom had me skip a couple of grades in grammar school. Intellectually I did fine, but socially it wasn't easy being younger than everyone else.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:19 AM
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I was 20 when I earned my BS. I skipped a grade in high school.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:22 AM
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I couldn't afford college after high school, so I took a few years off to work. Then the army decided that I would make better cannon fodder than academic fodder, delaying some more. Finally made it at 26.

If only I had graduated from HS four years later, as they built a beautiful new Junior College campus 3 blocks from my home then. Would have been ideal, but by the time it was built, I didn't need it anymore.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:34 AM
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Took me five years to get my "four" year degree, largely because I had to balance going to school with working sufficient to pay for rent, utilities, food, and tuition. I was going to school enough to be defined as full time, but not taking the maximum class load per semester. Was working about 25-30 hours a week.
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:46 AM
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I started university at 22, after the army (too soon after the army, in retrospect - maybe I should have take a year off like some of my friends; but then, I wouldn't have met my wife...). Did my 3 years, but didn't finish all my obligations, so I was left without a degree. Worked, traveled, lived in Manhattan for two years, and at 29 I decided to go back to school. Did a year of a day and a half of classes per week, finally finished all those damn papers, and graduated at 30.

Last edited by Alessan; 05-23-2019 at 05:46 AM.
  #12  
Old 05-23-2019, 06:00 AM
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23, in 1987.

I skipped a semester after I left Kent State and before I enrolled in the U of Colorado, Denver, and then spent a final semester at UCD picking up requirements for an American degree after I got back from study abroad at the U of Lancaster; I only took English lit and history courses while in the UK and had to have a certain number of science and math, and language, classes to graduate. So I took computer programming, some astronomy, and 101 Russian.
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  #13  
Old 05-23-2019, 06:37 AM
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I started college right after high school, but I quit after a year and joined the Navy. Three years later, I went back and finished my degree 3 years after that. I voted 25, but I was a month away from turning 26.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:46 AM
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I quit college when I was nineteen. I began attending community college when I was 33, graduated when I was 34, and finally completed a university degree when I was 53.
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  #15  
Old 05-23-2019, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
How old were you when you graduated from a college or university with a BA, BS, or other four-year degree?

Studies show that most people take six years to earn their bachelor’s degree, and only 19% of people graduate in 4 years. How about you?
I always get annoyed by these articles- generally speaking, 12 credits per semester is considered full time for the purposes of tuition, financial aid etc. But a bachelor's degree is typically 120 credits and will take 5 years (10 semesters) at 12 credits per semester. The articles rarely point out that these studies apply to public colleges , which often have a very different student population than private colleges and taking five or six years is not always a bad thing for those students. For example, like Broomstick , I was a full-time student ( 12 credits) while working enough hours to be considered full time at many jobs ( 30-35 hours a week). I needed to work that much to pay my tuition, so there was no option under which I graduated in four years - either I took five or six years or I didn't attend ( or graduate) at all.

Last edited by doreen; 05-23-2019 at 07:05 AM.
  #16  
Old 05-23-2019, 07:21 AM
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BA at 21, got it in 3.5 years. Saved a semester of tuition!

MD at 25. Did that in 3.75 years but still had to pay a full year's tuition for that last partial year.
  #17  
Old 05-23-2019, 07:35 AM
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I agree, this "4-year" degree expectation is nonsense.

Got mine in 3.

Was practically a dual degree and also earned 9 hours towards my Masters. So getting that was an easy year.
  #18  
Old 05-23-2019, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mapp View Post
23, in 1987.
Date earned--a good and possibly telling detail. I wonder if people today are more or less likely to go to college right after high school and then knock out a(n American) bachelor's in 4 years.

21, in 1989

Last edited by Inigo Montoya; 05-23-2019 at 07:53 AM.
  #19  
Old 05-23-2019, 08:35 AM
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I joined the Army after high school. Actually a year after high school, after getting fed up with working fast food jobs. Then I spent 5 years in the Army, taking no classes. Then I got out and got a four year electrical engineering degree in three and a half years. Which would have been impressive if I wasn't already 27 (this was in 2009, for the curious). But a lot of my peers were taking five or even six years to finish their engineering degrees.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:46 AM
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21. I graduated six months early with a double major. I had AP credits from high school that knocked out a few graduation requirements and I took one summer course to fill in an elective.

I should have graduated high school a year early. The graduation requirements when I started high school included passing four years of Gym and English. Other subjects required three of less years. To cut costs, administrators dropped the Gym requirement to two years. My Junior year of high school I took both English and Journalism, which fulfilled the English requirement. I don't think that school administrators realized that by dropping the Gym requirement, several Juniors were suddenly eligible to graduate a year early. Late in the year, they changed the graduation requirements again. But, they couldn't just say that Journalism didn't satisfy the English requirement because several of the students were Seniors who wouldn't graduate without credit for it. So, the administration arbitrarily decided that Journalism would only count as an English requirement if the student was a Senior. They averted their crisis and I had to spend another year in high school. The good news was that I took all the AP courses that allowed me to graduate college early, so I saved some tuition and on net, it only cost me a few extra months of my life rather than a whole year.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:50 AM
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Exactly 22. My university held graduation over two or three days, and the graduation date for my major was my 22nd birthday.
  #22  
Old 05-23-2019, 09:04 AM
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I was 26-27. There were a few years of work before I went and finished my degree.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:10 AM
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Oops, voted wrong. One of your 21s is really a 22.
I'm not sure whether one of your 22s is really a 21. I can't remember whether graduation date was before or after my birthday.
  #24  
Old 05-23-2019, 09:29 AM
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I got my double-major BS after 8 semesters, straight out of high school. That made me 21, soon to be 22. I took summers off, but took five courses per semester, not counting extra-curricular courses in music and phys ed. Also avoided 100-level courses when I was permitted (high course loads and upper-level courses for non-major always required sign-offs, which could take some pleading). Junior and senior-level courses are hard work, but a lot more interesting and engaging.

I worked hard to get everything I could out of university. And I was heavily incentivized to do it promptly, since my full-ride scholarship lasted no more than 8 semesters. Of my friends, only one other got through in 8. He also had the same time-limited scholarship. Everyone else took longer. (He also was the only one besides me to go on to grad school and get a PhD.)

I don't know how it is now, but the academic counselors then encouraged students to take fewer courses. They would recommend only three per semester. I could read the graduation requirements and do the math--that wasn't going to work for me. I'm sure they wanted to improve the graduation rate by reducing the workload on students, but time was not on my side. At least I could shop around for an advisor who would approve my course schedule, although sometimes I went "over their head" and got the professor to sign a release for me to take their course. I felt like the system, at least in this mid-sized state school, was not set up for high achievers.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:33 AM
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I lost my job at 30 in the tech industry. I had some money saved up so I decided to put my career on hold for 4 years and get a degree. I don't know if it helped significantly (although I make more money than ever), but I do think a lot of resumes go straight into the garbage pile if there's no degree.
  #26  
Old 05-23-2019, 09:45 AM
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I was 33 when I finally finished. My first two years were from 1965-1967. Somehow, my deferment was never sent in, and the military came after me. Rather than be drafted into the Army, I joined the Navy as an enlisted man. In 1972, I decided I had ambitions to be an officer and got myself into a Navy sponsored college program in engineering. Two years later I washed out, still without a degree, but with four years of college under my belt. In 1978, still in the military, I enrolled in night courses with Chapman University and two years later (1980) I graduated. In the end I had some 180 credit hours.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:54 AM
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I haven't yet.
At age 57, I am an autodidact pedant.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:55 AM
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Where's the option for 'ask me again in a year'?

Our system is different anyway, and typically 3 years long, as mentioned above; my course is totally structured, no optional modules, just a straight list of classes, so I expect I will finish on time, unless something drastic happens.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:04 PM
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I was 21. I started college right after high school, and finished in four years (1989-1993). I failed a class at the end of senior year and needed to take some "summer semester" credits; I wound up graduating one month before my 22nd birthday. While I was an undergrad I was aware that a 5-year-bachelor's degree was becoming more and more of a "thing," but there was never any doubt that I'd finish mine in the still-usual four years.
  #30  
Old 05-23-2019, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
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I always get annoyed by these articles- generally speaking, 12 credits per semester is considered full time for the purposes of tuition, financial aid etc. But a bachelor's degree is typically 120 credits and will take 5 years (10 semesters) at 12 credits per semester.
When I was in college (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1983-87), 12 credits per semester was considered the minimum to be a full-time student, as well.

In the business school (where I was), 128 total credits were required in order to earn a bachelor's degree, which, if one were trying to graduate in four years, with no summer school, would work out to 16 credits per semester (and 16 credits was considered to be "full load," and one typically wasn't able to carry more than that in a semester without approval from one's advisor). ISTR that our requirement of 128 credits was a little higher than that for some of the other schools (like Letters and Sciences).

However, some schools (particularly in Engineering) had even higher credit requirements; ISTR that a number of those required 136 credits, or even more, which pretty much guaranteed some combination of (a) summer school, and / or (b) more than four years.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:30 PM
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I was 21 with a caveat. Pitt had a deal back then that with permissions granted you could take Masters classes as an undergrad at the reduced rates and I took advantage of that. I basically had my degree plus some Masters work done by 21 but stalled a few distribution of studies credits so I could pack in a few more Masters discounted classes. The physical diploma was mailed to me when I was 22.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:40 PM
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24, with a few caveats:
  • Changed my major
  • Had to repeat a class that was a prerequisite for pretty much every upper level course in my major.
  • Didn't take a heavy class load every semester and worked to pay for rent, if not tuition for the last year or so.

Plus, my birthday is really early in the school year, so even had I got through in the classic 4 years, I'd have been 2/3 of the way to 23 by the time I would have graduated anyway.

Last edited by bump; 05-23-2019 at 01:41 PM.
  #33  
Old 05-23-2019, 01:43 PM
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22. I went for 4.5 years. I would have been 22 anyway if I'd graduated in May instead of December.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:46 PM
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  #35  
Old 05-23-2019, 02:19 PM
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I was 22 when I got undergrad.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:28 PM
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22 - graduated high school at 18, straight to college for four years. Early 80s.
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  #37  
Old 05-23-2019, 03:46 PM
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22. I graduated high school at 17 and took a five-year program.
  #38  
Old 05-23-2019, 04:24 PM
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Back in those days in New South Wales, I finished high school aged 17, but a few finished high school aged 16. I did a 4-year degree, but most did a 3-year bachelor's degree. So I had my degree aged 21, but a few got their degree aged 19. Shortly after that, they added an extra year to high school in NSW: my wife-to-be was one of the first doing 6 years instead of 5 years of high school.
  #39  
Old 05-23-2019, 04:38 PM
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I was 20 when I earned my BS. I skipped a grade in high school.
Same here, but the grade I skipped was in elementary school. Plus I finished my BS in 7 semesters thanks to AP credits.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:38 PM
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23, i missed a semester due to some virus [on the odd side, I stopped eating solid food and most beverages 10/3, had my first solid food 12/27 and only lost 20 pounds, go figure] I did do summer sessions in my major down in Washington DC [I took poli sci] so I had one semester that I just did arts and 'soft' classes that I needed to take anyway, just got waivered by the various professors to take them all at once instead of at various years like most kids did them. I actually sort of liked hte mental break of a semester of art and literature to break up the hard core studying [I can whip off metalwork, painting or clay sculpture like nothing, always been good with my hands]
  #41  
Old 05-23-2019, 04:49 PM
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  #42  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Date earned--a good and possibly telling detail. I wonder if people today are more or less likely to go to college right after high school and then knock out a(n American) bachelor's in 4 years.

21, in 1989
22, in 1984. Also, has the number of hours required changed? When I was in college, it was assumed to be ~12-15 hours a semester, and you would graduate in 4 years. There was some rumblings that accounting degrees were going to start taking 6 years to finish by the time I graduated, but everyone I knew was on a 4 year plan.

Mind you, nearly everyone I knew was able to go to college with doing no more than a part time minimum wage job, because a) it was one of the cheaper public schools in Texas even at the time, and b) there wasn't this expectation at the time of hocking your soul to go to college
  #43  
Old 05-23-2019, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
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Studies show that most people take six years to earn their bachelor’s degree, and only 19% of people graduate in 4 years. How about you?
Cite?

I found this article dissecting the claims of a politician who made a statement kind of like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the article
the average time to get their bachelor’s degree was six years and four months
...
That number, of course, is stretched by students who don’t take just four or six years, but much longer to finish their degree.
...
44 percent of the students who got their degrees in 2007-2008 did so within four years.

That compares to 23 percent who needed five or six years (and 33 percent who took more than six years).
Yes, the average length of time to earn a bachelor's is ~6 years, but that doesn't mean that most people take six years. There's a long-tail effect going on here. My dad, for example, took about 20 years to get his degree because his original college experience was interrupted by Vietnam, then some other stuff, then having a kid (we're a lot of work!), etc. His experience alone balances out nine other people who got their degrees in 4 years to result in an average of 6 years.

You can see the same results in the poll. 80+% of us got our degrees in 4-5 years (making some fairly reasonable assumptions like most of us started college around 17 or 18 years old, since the question posed in the poll is different), but the average is going to be higher than that.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:50 PM
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22, in 1984. Also, has the number of hours required changed? When I was in college, it was assumed to be ~12-15 hours a semester, and you would graduate in 4 years.



I don’t think the number of hours have changed - my daughter needed the same
120 credits that I needed in 1986. But there’s a big difference between 12 and 15- 12 credits x 8 semesters is 96 credits, not enough to graduate without summer school and/or extra semesters. 15x8 is 120.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:11 PM
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I was 22. Exactly. Graduation day was on my birthday. It was also the very same day that Mount St. Helens blew up. I figured that was in my honor.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:08 PM
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I was 23. I was already 18 when I graduated from high school (January bday). It took me 5 years to get my 4-year degree, due to a combination of working full time the last couple of years and not being able to get the classes I needed. Graduated high school in 1987, and graduated college in 1992.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:50 PM
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Either 23 or 27 depending on how you call it. I finished my all of my classwork at 23, but then, due to various reasons (partially including procrastination) I didn't finish my senior project until I was 27.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:27 PM
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I see two people have posted that they were 34 years old. Yet 16 people in the poll voted "over 30". Care to post?

I started Junior College at 16 after getting my GED my Junior year of HS. I earned my
BS at 55.

Last edited by steatopygia; 05-23-2019 at 10:27 PM.
  #49  
Old 05-23-2019, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doreen View Post
I always get annoyed by these articles- generally speaking, 12 credits per semester is considered full time for the purposes of tuition, financial aid etc. But a bachelor's degree is typically 120 credits and will take 5 years (10 semesters) at 12 credits per semester.
At at least one place I'm familiar with, which I think is typical, a full-time student takes somewhere from 12 to 18 credits per semester—less than 12, and you're considered part-time; and you can't take more than 18 without special permission (and possibly the help of a time turner, like Hermione used).

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Yes, the average length of time to earn a bachelor's is ~6 years, but that doesn't mean that most people take six years.
Thank you. I too wondered about the "studies" the OP referred to. The OP implied that 6 years is the mode, but I find it more believable that 6 years is the mean.
  #50  
Old 05-23-2019, 11:45 PM
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I was a slightly older student. Got my bachelor's degree at age 28 but just five or six weeks before I turned 29. It took me five years, but my first year was part-time.

For what it's worth, I was 35 when I got my master's, and that took me 2-1/2 years.
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