I'm considering graduating from undergraduate school in 6 years in 2024 to build up my resume and pursue interests for graduate school admissions. I feel that I would not feel ready to attend graduate school if I graduate undergraduate school in 4 years. However, most successful people (past U.S. Presidents, successful scientists, people in high political offices, etc.) have graduated undergrad in 4 years. I've no idea what to do.

  • This is too personal for a real answer here. It depends. You can follow either path and be a success. Factors outside your control will have an impact as well, such as the general state of the economy when you finish. – Buffy Dec 18 '18 at 21:08
  • Plenty of successful people don't graduate in 4 years or from ivies or whatever. I dunno why anyone would plan to spend 50% more money and time on their undergraduate degree. It's probably a terrible idea. – user101106 Dec 18 '18 at 21:20
  • I am assuming you are a freshman. Do not over think it now. finish your first year with great grades and see how things are going. try to meet and talk with other graduates students in your field of interests and see how they end up there. GOOD LUCK and enjoy university life! – N00 Dec 18 '18 at 21:27
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    If you are not ready after 4 years, why do you think 6 will help? Grad schools are used to seeing applications from people graduating after 4 years, with deviations from that coming with a good reason (long internships, financial issues, ...). Folks will wonder why you spent 6 years doing 4 years of work... – Jon Custer Dec 18 '18 at 22:20

From the point of view of a graduate admissions committee*, the undergraduate degree is just one step in the sequence:

  • elementary school
  • middle school
  • high school
  • undergraduate
  • graduate
  • postdoc
  • tenure-track
  • associate prof.
  • prof.
  • named professorship
  • chair, dean, provost, chancellor, ...

*although they'll realize that many applicants will want to stop going down this list after the graduate degree.

It's okay to take extra time in any of these, but it does delay moving on to the next one.


I think it partly depends on what your major is. But speaking generally...

I think this is a creative approach to tailoring college to your needs and wants, as well as being strategic. You sound like a smart and - observant person. Take it from someone who got a liberal arts degree in 6 years of school time, and 2 years out of school. It took me 8 years to graduate after starring my fist semester of college. I changed majors once which set me back only a semester. Three semesters before I was to graduate, I made the decision to move unexpectedly across the country with my family who I was living with while in college, rather than staying and paying more to go to school in my hometown while living in a dorm or bad apartment. Long story on why but I didn't enroll in a new college until almost 2 years after I moved to my new state. Then it took me 5 semesters to finish rather than the 3 I was told upon transfer of my credits. During the 2 years away from school I got a job at a sandwich shop, quickly became a manager, gained a couple skills in the process.

That job is the main thing that got me the job I have now - not my liberal arts degree.

Nobody cares how long it took you to get where you're going. It doesn't matter. What matters is why and what you did to make that time meaningful. Work through some semesters to gain some real life experience. Earn a promotion at that job. Make a change in that company, however small. THAT is what employers want to see.

You will hear every new graduate complain that they can't find a job because employers want experience but to get experience you need to get a job. So get a job. Or don't and volunteer if you want to keep more control over your time. Better yet - hold your own project completely.

Take the extra 2 years. And make it count.

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