6 Reasons your students may not graduate on time

The New York Times recently published a blog outlining 6 reasons why students fail to graduate on time. They estimated only 41 percent of students manage to do it. A quarter of students drop out after four years and most report it is due to the money.

Here are their six primary reasons students fail to graduate on time:

  1. Working Overtime: Quit After 25 Hours

About 40 percent of undergraduates work 30 hours a week or more, though a new study finds that more than 25 hours can get in the way of passing classes, especially for low-income students. Only 45 percent of students who work more than that are able to keep their grade-point averages above 3.0, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. The percentage goes down as the hours go up.

2. The 12 Credit Fallacy: Take 15

Most colleges define a full-time course load as 12 credits a semester, which is, not coincidentally, the ceiling for receiving the maximum Pell grant and most state financial aid. But degrees usually require 120 credits. Do the math — most students don’t, and it’s difficult to catch up: You need 15 credits a semester on average to get through in four years.

3. Transferring: You’ll Lose Usually

How can this be: Most students need more than four years to graduate yet end up taking, and paying for, many more credits than they need. Colleges and universities usually require 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree but students graduate with about 135, on average, according to data compiled by Complete College America, a nonprofit research and advocacy group.

Some states’ figures are even higher. Students at regional state colleges in New Mexico graduate with an average of 155 credits.

One reason is the difficulty of transferring credits from another university or a community college. A third of students transfer at one point in their college careers. Nearly 40 percent of them get no credit for any of the courses they have completed and lose 27 credits on average — or about a year of school, according to a 2014 federal study.

4. Major Problem: Don’t Veer Off Course

Picking courses can make students feel like kids in a candy store — there are so many possibilities. The process is overwhelming, with thousands of classes. “Archaeology of Human Origins” may sound interesting, but if you wait too long to focus on your economics major, you may not get in all the requirements you need. The problem is magnified if a prerequisite is offered only in the fall. Missing one means waiting a full year. And what if it’s full? Expect even more delays if you change majors.

“We think what they want is flexibility, but actually what they need is structure,” said Tom Sugar, president of Complete College America. “We think we’re doing them a favor by letting them explore without guidance, but we’re really steering them away from success.”

Colleges have begun to address the problem by pushing students to declare majors earlier, or at least narrow their areas of interest, so that they can chart out a path to a four-year finish. Toward that end, digital advising tools have become increasingly common.

5. No Social Life: Join Something

Some students slowly disengage because they never really feel part of a college community. Social isolation and depression can affect academic progress, especially for students living away from home for the first time. Studies have found that students who don’t become involved in campus life, whether through friendship networks, clubs or sports, are more likely to drop out.

Sometimes students worry that committing to activities outside of classes gets in the way of doing well academically, but often it’s the opposite.

6. Falling Behind: Three Strikes and …….

College has always been a lot to manage, but these days students are juggling more distractions than ever. They work more hours outside of class, they are more likely to commute and have family responsibilities, and now there’s social media vying for their attention. All of these factors can distract from schoolwork, requiring much tighter time management. It’s hard to cope.

The complete article can be found here:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/06/education/edlife/6-reasons-you-may-not-graduate-on-time.html?action=click&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Meredith Kolodner is a staff writer at The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on education. This article was produced in partnership with Hechinger.