One of my main motivators for graduating early was the amount of money I spent attending the University of Connecticut. It felt like I would be buried in debt while the bursar’s office stomped all over me. It felt unfair, so I devised a plan to get my degree while giving UConn as little money as possible. And now in my final year, I’ve accomplished shaving off one whole year off my degree, worth between $20k – $36k for in-state campus residents.
As a middle finger to the people who keep raising tuition and a gift to my fellow Huskies, I present to you: Ray’s Declassified Credit Finesse Guide
Tip 1: Enter College with as many credits as humanly possible
I hope you were busting your a** in high school picking up college credits because you’ll need at least 15 for this to work well. It’s possible without it but mental health is a BIG priority in this guide. With 15 you can graduate a semester early in most cases, but we want to shave a whole year off.
Tip 2: Pick a flexible major
My thoughts and prayers to Bachelors of Science students because this is going to be rough. But research, independent study and internships are your friends when it comes to picking up non-stressful credits throughout your career.
Tip 3: Take your hardest courses in the summer
No one wants to worry about fighting for their life in Calculus II with other classes piling on. By taking some of your hardest classes in the summer, you can alleviate the stress that comes with splitting up all your time. Any classes you don’t want to take during the regular year can become summer/winter throwaways.
Tip 4: Take some fun electives
No one likes the idea of wasting time but some of the electives offered at school can be pretty fun. If all you need are credits, think about picking up classes you wouldn’t normally take during a busy semester. Electives are a great way to make new friends and even learn about topics outside of your wheelhouse.
Tip 5: Always use community colleges for cheap credits
All Connecticut community colleges transfer credit into UConn if it’s on the list. The price of one summer class at UConn is close to the cost of three at a local community college. Ain’t no shame in being frugal, especially considering how UConn’s summer classes are expensive enough to give you IBS. In fact, a large portion of your credits can be taken for cheap and transferred in.
Tip 6: Common Classes are your friend
Let’s be honest, no one wants to waste their time summer doing busy work. The best thing you can do is take easy credits and get through them ASAP. With resources like Chegg, Studyhero and the MVP itself, Quizlet, you can find resources that make getting through those classes a breeze.
Tip 7: Walk in May, graduate in August
If you have a few credits left over, you can walk in May and let your degree matriculate in August. Some people despise the idea of graduating in December and then waiting for their ceremony in May. If all you need is credit, May commencement can be within your reach a lot sooner than you think.
Tip 8: Burnout is real, always take a break
The most important thing to remember is that this isn’t supposed to be easy and that oftentimes you’ll feel like giving up. College is what you make of it and enjoying what it has to offer can make you feel a little better as you continue your journey. It might make you even second guess yourself which brings us to tip number nine.
Tip 9: You can always change your mind
If you feel like graduating early isn’t for you then that’s fine. There are a lot of things to love about college and maybe you need more time to enjoy that. Or maybe you don’t like the added stress that graduating early is bringing into your life and that’s fine too! It’s never too late to change your mind if you want to extend your experience in college.
Even if you don’t decide to go down this path, these methods work wonders for getting a good education for less. Finding every loophole possible may not be the most fun, but trust me that money saved can go a long way. And besides, they won’t miss that money you saved anyways. Remember to always work smarter and finesse harder.