With the potential of saving thousands of dollars and starting a
career earlier, graduating in four years is a goal for some
students at CSU.
“It was important to me to graduate in four years because I
planned to go on to get my doctorate,” said Sarah Coffey, a senior
psychology major, “and I knew that (getting a doctorate) would take
a long time, so I wanted to get done with my undergraduate
According to the Freshman Retention Study done by the Office of
Budgets and Institutional Analysis, 32.6 percent of students who
enrolled as freshmen in 1997 graduated in four years. This number
increased to 57.2 percent of students graduating in five years from
the same 1997 entering class.
“I believe that a majority of student still have that goal
(graduating in four years),” said Nolan Oltjenbruns, the associate
registrar. “I also believe there’s a growing number of students who
realize it may take longer.”
Gaye DiGregorio, the assistant director for the Center for
Advising and Student Achievement, advises students who want to
graduate in four years to plan ahead.
“I tell students that it’s a good idea to do a tentative course
plan,” DiGregorio said. “It can give you better information about
credit loads, and not only when you’ll graduate, but what those
semesters will look like.”
Two helpful resources for students to plan their schedules are
advisers and the General Catalog.
Students should meet with their adviser at least once a
semester, DiGregorio said.
“It’s just important to keep communicating and checking on the
progress,” she said.
Oltjenbruns also said that graduation requirements are often
complex and that meeting with an adviser can prevent the student
from being surprised.
When meeting with their adviser students should bring in a check
sheet of all their required classes and which ones they have taken,
Students can also use the catalog, which lays out a four-year
plan for each major.
“The catalog is helpful,” Oltjenbruns said. “It lays out a
year-by-year plan. Sometimes the check sheets that the departments
give out are by category, with the catalog it gives a logical
Digregorio also said a 15-credit load per semester is required
to graduate in four years for most majors.
Coffey recommends being prepared to take the more than the
recommended 15 credits. She took an average of 17 credits a
semester so that she could also take some elective courses. She
also took more credits early on to get certain credits out of the
“I knew I had to get some of my requirements out of the way that
I wouldn’t want to take my junior or senior year,” Coffey said.