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Graduating from college on-time may seem pretty straight forward. All you have to do is show up to class, right? Not necessarily. There are many factors that can affect the time it takes to earn your degree. Consider these tips as you prep for your college journey:


Decide on a major

It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. Rather than choosing one specific career path, think about a general field you would like to go into. This will give you a solid starting point, and those intro-level courses will help you discover the path you’re most interested in pursuing. Even if you do decide to change your major, being under the same (or similar) department will ensure that you’re taking the right prerequisite courses to graduate on-time. If you’re still uncertain which field interests you, visit your school’s career center to help you narrow down your choices! If you’d like to read more about this topic, here’s an article all about choosing a major.


Take a full course load

You don’t need to do this every semester or quarter, but throwing in a full course load here and there may be the boost you need to make sure you aren’t falling behind. However, tread carefully. You want to make sure that you’re passing your classes and making time for self-care. Don’t add on to your course load unless you are sure you can handle it.


Sign up for summer classes or winter session

These classes can be a prime way to get certain core requirements out of the way in a timely manner. If you’re dreading your public speaking requirement, you can finish it in a few weeks rather than a few months. You may even be able to complete these summer/winter credits at a community college if you’re concerned about price or location.


Utilize your degree audit

Your degree audit allows you to track your progress towards your degree. You can typically access this on the same student account you use to check your grades. The degree audit shows you all the credits you have completed thus far in your college career, and the amount of credits you have left before graduation. If you aren’t sure how to access this tool or how to read your audit, make an appointment with your academic advisor! This a great way to visually keep you on track for graduating college on-time!


Be thoughtful with class registration

In college, you will be signing up for classes all on your own. You will be assigned a time slot when you will go online and enroll in your classes. This process can be overwhelming, especially when the classes you plan to choose are filling up quickly. You should have an idea of the classes you want to take and back-ups in case those classes are filled. To confirm that your classes are actually counting towards graduation, you should visit your academic advisor before your allotted class registration time.


Adopt the right attitude

Take your classes seriously and take pride in the work that you do. Understand that your studies won’t be easy, and you will have to put in hours of hard work to succeed. Allow this realization to motivate you, and envision how proud you will feel accepting your degree knowing that it was earned through genuine effort and determination.


Adjust your habits

In high school, you may have crammed for tests the night before and procrastinated your homework to the last minute. To be successful in college, you will need to alter these tendencies. Finishing your work in advance will not only help you in your studies, but you will also stress less and gain confidence in your work ethic.


Take responsibility

Some common behaviors to leave in high school: no more blaming poor grades on professors or bad luck. Learn to take responsibility for both your successes and your defeats. When you place blame on external factors, you are less likely to make changes to your own behavior. If you aren’t performing as planned, that’s your cue to ask for help, go to office hours, or shake up your study routine.


Whether you’re completing a two-year degree or a four-year degree, you have what it takes to accomplish graduating college on-time! (And maybe even a little bit early). Sometimes, college life can be tough, but don’t lose faith in yourself.