Should You Take An Extra Year to Complete Your Degree?

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Maybe the idea of taking five classes at a time sounds a bit overwhelming. After all, it is a lot of assignments, studying and tests to worry about.

Many students today are not in a huge rush to complete their degrees and diplomas in the allotted time. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to taking your time. So perhaps taking an extra year is something to ponder over. We’ve laid out the pros and cons.

Pros:

Lighter workloads. This is the most obvious one. With fewer classes, you will have fewer assignments to worry about, allowing you to spend more time on the assignments you do have. It is also less information to remember all at once, so studying for tests may be a bit easier. All of this may lead to higher grades.

Better social life. Because of your lighter workload, you will likely have more free time to have a social life. You may have the time to join a couple of clubs or teams on campus, allowing you to meet more people with similar interests that you would have not likely met otherwise. You will also have more time just to hang out with friends, or explore the area you are in.

Easier to maintain a part-time job. This job could help you pay for school, and give you a bit of cash to go out occasionally with your friends. It will also give you experience to put on a resume. Even if it is not in the field you are trying to get into, showing you can maintain a job while in school is always a positive. If you do decide to take this route, try not to take more than 20 hours a week, as to still give yourself time to study and/or socialize.

Cons:

It will cost more. In September, most schools will increase tuition (by about 1% each year.) There are also those additional fees you pay every semester to the student union, health plans, newspaper, etc., as well as other costs associated with post-secondary such as housing and transportation. A part time job can help you offset these costs, and over the time you are at school, consider putting some of your earnings aside to help pay for these extra costs.

Having to re-establish a social circle. This one depends on the program you are in, and how you have been taking your courses. However, if you find yourself having to say goodbye to your graduating classmates and hello to new peers in your final year, do not think of it as a negative thing. You will have the opportunity to make new friends and new connections, which may help you down the road with jobs or projects you take on. If you are someone who finds it difficult to establish new connections, then joining a club or two early in your post-secondary career can help, as that group may tend to be more consistent.

Feeling left behind. Your friends and classmates have started pursuing their careers, while you are still stuck in the classroom. It can be frustrating, but you can turn this into a positive. Stay connected with these individuals, and learn through their experiences about great places to work, tips, and what to expect when you do begin pursuing your career.

Taking another year does not make you less intelligent than your peers, especially if you use your extra time wisely. It is better to take a bit longer and do well than to take on more than you can handle.

How do you feel about taking an extra year of school? Let us know in the comments!

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