Scrambling the College Degree Timeline

Barry Lenson

Things have changed a lot since the days when I entered college, back around 1970.

Back in those days, most of us started college right after we graduated from high school. We took the SAT test only once, and lived with the results we got. We applied to three or four colleges at most. And once we started college, very few of us took time off or transferred colleges.

Things are a lot different today. For one thing, people are starting college at just about any time they want – after military service, after a period of working, or after their kids are grown up. What a great thing.

And the timeline for completing a college degree is changing in other ways too. It is becoming commonplace for students to  . . .

  • Cut time and save money on college by taking online college courses before they arrive on campus or during their summer college breaks.
  • Take AP courses in high school, enroll in schools that combine high school and college work, and find other ways to cut time from the old four-year model.
  • Transfer from college to college, take breaks – and use other strategies to fit their college studies around everything else that is happening in their lives.

It’s a brave new world of education out there. Perhaps it’s because American students and their families have discovered ways to shop for the best college education at the lowest price. If that doesn’t represent progress, what does?


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