Editorial: The college express lane

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(Khai Le / Online Editor)


According to Newsweek, it should only take roughly three years to finish the standard Bachelor’s degree.

In the Oct. 26 issue, the magazine ran an article that said college should not take that long.
In theory, it shouldn’t.

Smaller liberal arts colleges such as Hartwick College are offering “well-prepared” students the somewhat seemingly perfect opportunity of finishing their degrees in three years and saving upwards of $43,000.

Many colleges are doing the same, with reports that the three-year degree could be the next thing in efficiency.

For years, the American brand of higher education has gone unrivaled, people from all over the world come here to study and earn degrees.

Specifically the California college system boasts some of the nation’s greatest research institutions.

Yet, with the recent economic downturn which sharply affected schools nationwide, critics and analysts turned a critical eye to the logistics of the American college system.

Some say it’s stuck in the past and that the model simply does not work anymore.

For example, the article cited the school year when most students go to school. The school year has not changed since the American Revolution.

That’s where the three-year efficiency degree comes in. The degree is designed for highly motivated students so they can save money and move towards their degrees quickly.
The students who enroll in the program will have early access to courses and summer school is a requirement. Hello essays and research papers, goodbye summer beach parties.

Of course, a three-year degree program sounds great on paper, but what about in practice?

Ideally it’s supposed to take two years to finish an Associate’s Degree at the Community College level, and it takes some people longer than that to finish with the added elements of working, raising a family and having a life.

Students who enroll in a three-year degree program will be accelerating through college.
Not that there is anything wrong with being motivated, it just seems that going through college at such a pace leaves zero room for experiencing most of college.

It would be hard to participate in extracurricular activities, meet new people and actually let the information digest.

There would be no way to join a sports team, sorority or fraternity if you are on an accelerated track.

The program also leaves no room for students to explore other study options.

Sometimes the major you enter college with is not the major you leave with.

Not all colleges are readily adapting the program, Waldorf College in Iowa is gradually eliminating the program, because students wanted to have the full four years to experience college.

It seems like on paper the three-year degree program is a way to move students at a quicker pace into the career world.

This is not that bad of an idea considering that in recent years, college graduates enter the workforce not being able to smoothly transition from study groups to marketing groups.

However, just because a student finishes up college in three years instead of four does not correlate to them being any more ready for their oncoming career. In these cases, the social aspect of college comes into play.

Like with most students, it’s really a factor of the individual.

While this option may offer students a chance to save time and money it seems like it could be detrimental in the long run, as college provides students with a safe place to fail.

The extra time spent in college making mistakes will save students from making those mistakes out in the real world where the environment isn’t so forgiving.

While college may be expensive and sometimes difficult to navigate, it still provides young people with the best place to figure out where they’re going and how they’ll get there.

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