Finishing in four

Marathon or sprint: students race toward graduation

Jessica Sewing | Collegio Reporter

For some students, like Amanda Hatfield, graduation is taking longer than they expected. Hatfield says she started taking classes at a community college before transferring to PSU. She says some of her credits didn’t transfer, forcing her to retake a number of classes. Another delay was caused when she switched her major from chiropractic to chemistry education.



“Luckily, I’m only one semester, maybe a semester and a half behind,” said Hatfield, senior in chemistry education.
Hatfield says she hopes to finish her professional semester next fall and graduate in December.
“It actually has been somewhat helpful that I got a little behind,” Hatfield said. “I get to student teach in the fall, and I think I will learn a lot.”
Other students like Chandra Morris and AJ Lauer will be graduating early.
Lauer will graduate just two years after he finished high school. Lauer says he took classes for dual credit in high school and an additional six classes online at his local community college his senior year. Lauer says he was able to graduate community college with an associate’s degree at the same time he graduated from high school.
“Taking the extra classes wasn’t so much as difficult as time consuming,” said Lauer, senior in automotive power mechanics. “I normally spent five hours, 3-4 nights per week doing all of my homework. But I never found school hard or difficult.”
Before he turns 20, Lauer will be working with Kiewit Energy in Houston, Texas. Lauer says he advises people to do the same and take college classes during high school.
Lauer says that getting ahead in school was advantageous. He says it opened up many opportunities.
“Being young and willing to travel opens up doors in every direction,” Lauer said.
Morris says she had completed more than 40 hours of credits at a community college before she started her first year at Pittsburg State. She says she took them during the summer and through dual credit classes at her high school.
“I took so many college classes before graduating high school,” said Morris, junior in psychology. “Because in this day and age you need to get ahead to make it anywhere in life.”
Instead of graduating next spring, two years after entering PSU, Morris says she added another major. Morris says graduating with two majors will be beneficial in the long run.
“I believe getting multiple majors will help me with my professional goals,” Morris said.
Morris says she plans to obtain a degree in psychology and justice studies before heading to graduate school or law school.
“Graduating early or majoring in multiple areas gives me an advantage,” Morris said. “I’m glad I put in the extra time in high school, and it has already helped me out so much.”

This graphic displays the percent averages for students to graduate in four and six years at Pittsburg State, Missouri Southern State, Emporia State, and Northwest Missouri State universities. It shows the average for the freshman class of 2006: Meaning the students who graduated in four years (crimson caps) were the graduating class of 2010 and the students who finished in six years (gold caps) graduate in 2012.
Of these four schools, 22 percent of students will graduate in six years. In order to accomplish this, Bill Ivy, associate vice president of enrollment management and student success, says that students would need to have a narrowed down major, not change their major, and take at least 16 credit hours per semester. Janet Hoyer, assistant registrar for degree certification, says that some students don’t graduate in four years because they neglect to take the necessary prerequisites.
“Many students also have other obligations such as a job,” Hoyer said.
If students were to take the minimum credit to be a full time student, 12, it would take five to six years to graduate. Nationally, 53 percent of students take six years to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

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