Racing by or Step-by-step

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College seems to take over our lives sometimes. It goes on for years and seems to never have a light at the end of the tunnel. Adding other factors like work, a social life and just trying to stay sane just makes college seem even longer. When students change their major or take fewer credits each semester, it adds even more time. UVU is pushing a not so new system called “15 to Finish,” to help curb students from being students for so long.

If you take 15 credits each semester, in four years, you’ll have your bachelor’s degree. A fact many students might not realize unless they consult their advisor. This is true of many universities, but why the sudden push at UVU? The tuition price for 15 credits is the same as 12 so the student actually saves money. Many students need to take semester breaks to save money to pay for their education. If the administration were to push this system, students would need to get a lot of financial aid and plan ahead. Most likely, more student loans would need to be taken out so the students could get through their program in the allotted time. What does the school get out of that?

The push for this system is relatively obvious. When you graduate in four years, you actually make money. You earn more money at a job by having a college degree, saving that money to pay off student loans, a house, or other expenses you cannot do as a college student. You could also start graduate school earlier to start earlier at an even higher paying job.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 5.41.38 PMYet again, this is a positive push for the students, but how does it benefit the university? One idea could be that by getting us to graduate, UVU can get more students into school and bring in more money. So now students fly through school, only focused on classes and grades, leaving the genuine college experience behind. Many high school students look forward to enjoying their new freedom. By accelerating students, the school insists that you will be able to experience life when you graduate sooner because you can move on with your life and pursue your dreams. Apparently not the dreams connected to college. Many of the things you experience and learn while attending a university are unique to that style of living, and can’t be replaced.

The key to this system working is not changing your major or adding a minor at all during your four years. Even if you have harder classes, you will still need to take 15 credits each semester, or take less and make those credits up in a later semester or during the summer. There are many working students and others in various circumstances that cannot handle taking 15 credits each semester. Along the way, you would need to talk to your advisor, who would plan out your schedule for you. Help from your advisor for effective planning is awesome but how much freedom would you have to take the classes you want, and when you want? The information given on the one site about “15 to Finish” is vague, so questions like these stand until you talk to your advisor about it.

L. Gae Robinson, Heidi Greer and Erin Donahoe-Rankin are advisors from various departments, and all agree that this program is not for everyone. It is a student-specific program that can work for some but not for all. Most of them said that they would only recommend this to about 25% of their students. The only students they would recommend the program to, are ones that would be able to put school as their top priority, and could therefore handle that kind of load.

While we hope that our advisors understand what is best for us, individually, the decision ultimately comes down to what we want out of our college experience. Do you want to finish your undergrad in four years while focusing mostly on school and have your social life struggle in the process? Or would you rather have the flexibility to take classes at your own pace, balancing work and other life requirements, while having great social and learning experiences along the way?

So decide what is best for you, and what you want out of your college experience. There will be people racing by or smelling the roses while you are jogging along, but when it comes down to it, your life is yours to direct as you wish.

By Amanda Hollman

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