BYU focuses on graduating in 4 years, or less

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    By MARY L. OTIS

    I need to graduate in how many years?

    This is the reaction many students have when asked to leave BYU in four years. But in actuality, many students are doing it. There are even a few who can and will obtain their degree in less than four years.

    After former President Rex Lee found that BYU students were taking an average of six years to earn a bachelor’s degree, he and Associate Academic Vice President John Tanner established a policy to help students graduate in four years. The policy included putting registration holds on all seniors without majors, students with more than 150 hours and seniors on academic probation, according to an August 1995 article in Brigham Young Magazine.

    According to Gary Kramer, associate dean of admissions and records, the average graduate in April 1996 was taking 11.5 semesters to graduate from BYU, in contrast to 1990’s 11.9 semesters.

    Kramer said that the decrease doesn’t look like much, but the average is expected to decrease even more.

    Some students didn’t wait for the BYU administration to help them out.

    “I found out I could graduate before my mission, so I would have the option of going on a mission or starting my career,” said Esther Covington, a senior in public relations who will graduate in April.

    Covington received her associate’s degree from Ricks in one year and finished her BYU bachelor’s degree in two more years. She credits her ability to graduate so quickly to a counselor at Ricks and 16 hours of high school advance placement credit.

    Covington’s Ricks College counselor informed her during her second semester that if she stayed for the spring and summer terms she could graduate in one year. “I found out I could, so I did,” Covington said.

    Angela Washburn, a junior from La Crescenta, Calif., said, “I don’t want to be one of those people in school (at BYU) for six years.”

    Washburn is majoring in psychology with a double minor in philosophy and French. She plans on graduating in April 1998, after only three years at BYU.

    Washburn had an example who helped her graduate quickly. When she was a sophomore in high school, a friend of hers was graduating from college in only three years.”Everyone was so excited that she was graduating so quickly. I decided I could do it, too.”

    Jenny Nielsen, a sophmore from Greensboro, N.C., says that graduating early is not for everyone, but it is for the right people.

    “I would suggest it for certain individuals who are ambitious and want to get through school early,” said Nielsen, who is graduating in April 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in health promotion after only three years at BYU.

    Nielsen wanted to graduate early for a few different reasons, one being the administration’s.

    “I know that BYU is tight on students and that they want to give as many people the opportunity to come here as they can.”

    Becky Hallows, a sophomore from Bountiful majoring in human biology said, “I just decided it was possible.” Hallows will be graduating in six semesters and four terms.

    Hallows said she was disappointed by the lack of suggestions about early graduation from her advisor. “I don’t think they helped much. They weren’t very encouraging.”

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