Do we need four years to succeed?

Rachel Herscovici


Four years to finish a degree is the standard for a reason — it works.

While there are exceptions — for example, when students have taken time out of their formal studies for an educational internship — four years should be enough time to finish a degree.

The best way to learn and become great at the job you studied for happens in your chosen area in the field, meaning in the real world.

If we keep prolonging our time as an undergrad, we’re putting off real life.

It’s hard to pay for school and it’s hard to juggle jobs and classes, yes. But, online summer courses go a long way in helping alleviate the pressure during the fall and winter terms in order to allow students to work more.

There was once a time when you only had to pursue a short two-year degree to become a fully licensed registered nurse and you could attend teachers college right out of high school.

I realize, obviously, times have changed and degrees take more time and training due to advances in technology and an increase in learned information, but how long do we really need to fawn over Shakespeare and in-class theories?

Of course, in the most extreme circumstances, exceptions can be made. Sometimes things happen you can’t foresee — finances get in the way, a family member falls ill maybe. That being said, I see no benefit for normalizing a fifth, sixth or even seventh year to complete an undergraduate degree.

University, like real-life, can be really fast-paced so taking classes on a basically regular schedule isn’t infeasible.

You can work with your financial situation and you can work with other circumstances.

We don’t need to keep pumping our money for living expenses away from home and more into our undergrad degree — there’s so much more waiting out there for us.

I love being an undergrad student now, but I don’t want to be stuck here forever. After four years, it’s time to move on.

Rachel is an Assistant News Editor at the Journal. She’s in her second year.

Savoula Stylianou


Four years in secondary school, four years in post-secondary school, get a job. That’s what the norm’s always been and we should all be following it, right.

Not necessarily.

It’s becoming clearer every day that, in a large number of cases, students aren’t able to finish their college or university programs in the expected four years.

While completing a victory lap or laps has been given a bad connotation, it’s obvious that the more students are facing the possibility of a fifth and sixth year at school, the fewer jibes they are met with.

According to a study completed by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario cited in a MacLean’s article, less than half of Ontario university students finish their degree programs in four years. There are numerous reasons why that statistic is still growing.

Some students need to attain full-time or part-time jobs outside of school in order to pay their annual tuition fees. This might cost them a full course load each term and put them behind in the number of credits they need to graduate in the allotted four years.

There are also some students who take time to really discover what it is they want to major in at college or university.

Once that decision is made, they might need to spend more than four years at their school to achieve a certification in their chosen field.

With the pressure to get a four-year degree with honours rather than a three-year one, it’s no wonder that students sometimes resign themselves to the imminent completion of their four-year degree when they first come to college or university.

The bottom line is that everyone is different, and for whatever reason, not everyone is able to finish their degree or diploma programs in four years.

Whether it’s due to academic, monetary or personal reasons, you should be allowed to take however much time is required for you to achieve the degree you truly want to have.

Savoula is the Arts Editor at the Journal. She’s in her third year.

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