Most U.S. college undergraduate programs are planned so students can graduate in 4 years, but because of several factors (impacted majors, changing majors, failing classes) many students can take 5 or 6 years to finish if they do finish. A study following students who matriculated at 100 different colleges in 2003 showed that only about 40% of students completed college within this time. The rates though do vary by college, and it might be easier to finish on-time if you attend a private liberal arts colleges versus for example an inundated California public university. If this question applies directly to your life right now, check out the graduation rates for the colleges and programs you’re specifically interested in.
It really does depend on what you are majoring in and whether or not you are double-majoring or minoring in any subjects. In order to graduate as an undergrad in four years, you must take at least 15 credit hours per semester and pass all of those courses. As americalibre said, there is a huge college drop-out rate. For those who stick it out and graduate, it takes about 11 years for the degree to actually pay off. I have attached a link to show what exactly that means.
I was fortunate enough to graduate college in 4 years, but I know a lot of people that still have 1-2 more years left. There are a lot of factors for this, with everything from taking small breaks to switching majors and failing classes. I went to an expansive private school, so some students had to take a semester or two off to save up money for future semesters. With how expensive private schools are these days, a lot of students are choosing public universities. A lot of majors are becoming impacted from this, which is also causing students to not get the classes that they need, thus putting them behind for graduation.
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