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Should I take an extra year as an undergade student?

  1. Jul 13, 2015 #1
    Hello, I'm currently a philosophy major and I'm going to start my sophomore year this fall, but I've considered changing my major to astronomy. The problem with this is that I've always wanted to graduate in just 4 years, and the only way this could happen is if I filled up the next two summers with many summer classes. My university though offers many research opportunities during the summer, and it would probably be foolish to turn down these opportunities. There are research opportunities I can do during the academic year, but the opportunities during the summer seem like they'll be better for graduate school resumes. At the same time though, I would not be able to take any summer classes if I take part in any of them. If if don't take any summer classes, I'll have at least two semesters in my undergraduate years that I'll be taking only 12-14 credit hours due to my lack of prerequisite classes needed to take the required physics courses for my school's astronomy degree plan. Would it be better for graduate school if I spend 5 years as an undergraduate student or to take summer classes and do all my researching during the school year? Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2015 #2

    Dr. Courtney

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    Take and extra year and use the summers for research opportunities.
  4. Jul 15, 2015 #3
    Can you test out of any of the prerequisites that you will need for the science courses required for this coming year? That might provide another alternative for getting back on track for a four year graduation and there are a lot of opportunities for online learning available from a variety of universities now that might help you to study on your own to pass them (Coursera, Khan Academy, etc...). Your adviser may be able to help you with allowing you to schedule the classes that you need on the assumption that you will pass the required tests. (Possibly also registering for the classes you would have taken otherwise, so you don't fall further behind if you don't manage it. You can always drop the courses that you don't end up in before school starts.)
  5. Jul 20, 2015 #4
    Take the time, I know you may feel like you "Need" to get things done quickly. This is true in some cases but I think you might find in this case it was the better choice to take your time, do the summer research, and extend out your stay for one year. Good luck!
  6. Jul 20, 2015 #5
    Barely half of all students graduate in 4 years and less than a third graduate in 4 years with the degree they entered into: http://business.time.com/2013/01/10/the-myth-of-the-4-year-college-degree/

    There's no rush. Better to take an extra year or two to make sure you have the degree that prepares you for the career you actually want rather than the wrong one that you were badgered into choosing when you were 17.
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