I do, but will I graduate?

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    By Sarah Bastian

    Marriage may be hazardous to a person”s schooling.

    BYU women who marry in their freshman or sophomore year are less likely to get a degree than those who marry later, according to a brochure published by the General and Honors Education Department.

    Statistics from the brochure show women who get engaged during their junior year generally go on to graduate, while those who get engaged earlier are less likely to graduate.

    “Graduating is really important to me,” said Janica Duncan, 19, a junior from Bellingham, Washington, majoring in elementary education. “I knew that I would be able to finish when I got married.”

    Duncan said that the hardest part about balancing school and marriage is affording it.

    “My parents are helping me, or else I wouldn”t be able to,” she said.

    Duncan said that if she had to choose who finishes school, she would probably choose her husband.

    “He”s more likely to be earning the money in our household,” she said.

    Karen Smith, 21, a former BYU student from Orem, said she planned on finishing school when she got married but now she is no longer going to school.

    “I decided I wanted to start a family instead of finishing a degree right now,” she said.

    Smith said she has a baby now and is working in her field without a degree.

    “It”s something I can do on my own,” she said. “I decided I didn”t need a degree.”

    For single students, the statistics may have little sway on their decision to get married.

    “I think BYU has taught me that you get married when it”s time to get married,” said Jen Eoff, 23, a senior from McPherson, Kansas, majoring in sociology teaching.

    Eoff said she would not postpone marriage in order to finish school. Instead, she said she would find a way to do both.

    “I think education is important enough that everyone needs to finish,” said Eoff.

    Ryan Huber, 21, a junior from Meridian, Idaho, majoring in chemical engineering, said he believes decisions about marriage, schooling and children are private matters to be considered between the couple.

    “It”s an individual decision that has to be worked out with the Lord for each couple,” he said.

    Huber said that having a college degree does not always reflect a person”s education level.

    “But, having a college degree is a necessary requirement to get a good job in today”s market,” he said.

    Options are available for students who marry and have to leave BYU before they finish their schooling.

    According to the brochure, transfer credit and Independent Study credit may allow students to finish even if they live outside of Provo.

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