College Completion: What You Think Will Take Four Years, May Actually be More Like Six
What do you envision when you think of your little or big genius in college? I see teary eyed goodbyes, phone calls and inevitable sending of care packages. I see filing weekly requests to contribute to the I-don’t-have-a-job-because-I-am-a-full-time-student fund. I see trucking up and down the road at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break to lug home bags of dirty laundry. All of this perhaps unforeseeable parenting work is a worthy investment mind you. When they’re done our scholar will have a college degree. The bigger question for me then is how long can I really expect to have to college parent? I'd visited my sister at college. I grew up listening to my parents talk about their college days with friends. It never even occurred to me once I unpacked my clothes that fall long ago in my tiny dorm room that completing four years of college would ever be a problem for me. That is until I ran into organic chemistry. Organic chemistry led me to change my major, which led me to understand that my parents were only paying for certain approved majors. Which led me to say…perhaps I’ll take a break from school altogether. After I got over myself, had my oldest and returned to school it took me a total of six years to finish college. A recent study by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) found that my six year completion of college is not all that unusual. Approximately 59% of full-time, first-time students at 4-year institutions in 2007 who were seeking a bachelor’s or equivalent degree completed a bachelor’s or equivalent degree within 6 years at the institution where they began their studies. An even closer look at college completion rates of full-time, first-time students at 4-year public institutions in 2007 by race revealed:
With this in mind, coupled with my own college track record, I am partially bracing myself for the child who may come home and say the dreaded words, “I am dropping out of college.” Not that I am claiming such a thing, but let’s be honest – I know that I have no real control over their lives once they become of adult age. But, I’ll let them know before they quit, that if they’re quitting because they think they have to have their degree completed in four years - we’re more than willing to give them a two year extension.
Are you okay if your scholar takes six years to finish college?