My name is Mustafa and I’m one of your Directors of Marketing for the upcoming academic year. As the fall semester is quickly approaching, it is important to understand what your options are when it comes to completing your degree. With that said, I would like to take this blog post to share my experiences, the challenges, and the benefits of completing a 4-Year Degree in 3-Years.
How Do You Graduate A Year Early?
There are many methods as to how to graduate a year early. The first is to start in High-school as many programs allow you to take University credits on the side. For those of you who are out of High-school, a second method includes taking extra courses throughout the year – including summers – until you have sufficiently completed all degree requirements. The University of Guelph makes it very easy to take this pathway as they offer counseling services to make sure you’re taking the right courses at the right time. They also offer courses through Distance Education which allows you to complete these courses wherever you wish. Through these services, I found I was still able to maintain a positive work-life balance.
How Do You Manage Gaining Work Experiences With This Pathway?
The most common question I’ve received regarding this pathway is how to balance gaining work-experience while studying all year round. The main method is joining on-campus student organizations (such as joining DECA). These are highly flexible as team meetings are usually infrequent and much of the work required can be done on your own time. I have also found many corporations that also have flexible work schedules. For instance, you can find ‘brand ambassador,’ ‘student brand manager,’ and ‘events team lead’ positions at companies across different industries. These type of positions usually relate to a specific major which can look great on your resume.
At the beginning of my degree, I personally found this component to be the most challenging. As you can imagine, having a full course load with full-time/part-time work experiences can be very difficult to manage. However, as I progressed, I ended up finding a perfect balance between work and school. I recommend you ease your way into it by starting off with what you think you can manage and by making slight adjustments to your schedule along the way.
What Are The Benefits?
There are a variety of benefits from graduating a year early with the most obvious one being an entire year to do whatever you wish. You can use this time to get an additional year of post-graduate work experience and start working your way up the corporate ladder; you can also pursue additional education through a masters degree or post-graduate diploma; or you may want to use this time to relax from your many years in school and take some time to travel the world. However, I have found the greatest benefit is the sheer feeling of accomplishment after completing one semester after the other.
Whether you’re in your freshmen year or mid-way through your degree, I feel it’s important to think about how your University experience will impact your long-term goals. I have come across many people that have missed out on adding a minor, a certificate, or even work experiences due to a lack of planning. I hope this blog post has demonstrated the versatile nature of acquiring a University degree and I encourage everyone to look for unconventionalities to better accomplish your goals.
Director of Marketing, DECA U Guelph 2018-2019