Undergraduate students need at least 120 credit hours to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. If a student’s goal is to graduate “on time” in four years, they should be taking an average of 15 credit hours per semester (not including summer sessions).
It is important that the classes students take are counting toward their degree requirements. Taking classes outside of the degree requirements may set them back from graduating in four years or interfere with their financial aid eligibility. Students, please reference your program of study in the University Catalog when planning which classes to register for. We encourage students to regularly meet with their advisors and to utilize the Advising Assistance Center to ensure they are on track to graduate on time.
Why is it important to graduate in four years?
- Save money!
- Tuition is owed for every semester a student is taking classes. A student who graduates in four years will save more money than if they were to graduate in five years. Additionally, some financial aid programs expire after four years of classes. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions about your financial aid.
- Make more money!
- Students who graduate in four years will be able to enter the workforce sooner than if they took more time to graduate. Individuals with bachelor’s degrees make an average of $36,000 more per year than individuals with a high school degree.
- More likely to complete a degree!
- Students who take an average of 15 credits a semester have been found to be more likely to stay in college and complete a degree than students who take fewer credits. This is especially true for first-year college students.
Shepherd University is advertised as a four-year institution, which means we want students to waste no time in classes unnecessary for graduation. Students who take more than four years to graduate are still successful graduates, but may have had circumstances such as having transferred from another institution and some credits did not equally transfer, had switched majors “late” in their program and needed to fulfill a new set of requirements, or they are students who had complications completing classes with passing grades. If you are a student who is struggling with coursework, we advise you to speak with your professor for guidance or schedule a meeting with a tutor here.
To find out more about the benefits of taking 15 credit hours a semester visit the College Foundation of West Virginia 15 to Finish Guide.
Learn more about majors and programs, campus life, on-time graduation and other tips for success in the College Foundation of West Virginia College 101 Guide.
Find more information about post secondary schools, how to prepare for college, and explore majors and minors at the College Foundation of West Virginia College Planning Website.
Knowing your major and future career path can help ensure you are taking the classes you will need to graduate. Visit the College Foundation of West Virginia Career Planning Website to take an assessment of your values, skills, and interests and explore possible career paths.