Although UT is hoping to raise its four-year graduation rate with the Senior Countdown program, not all students want to graduate in four years.
The Senior Countdown program provides seniors with guaranteed enrollment to classes, priority access to the Graduation Help Desk and alumni networking and career coaching. To qualify for this program, juniors have to meet with their advisors to commit to graduating the following year.
Cassandre Alvarado, executive director of Student Success Initiatives, said there are some myths that need to be dispelled about taking more than eight semesters to graduate.
“An extra year at college costs students $150,000 in lost lifetime income,” Alvarado said. “Students also don’t have to know (right now) what they want to do for the next 70 years. There is no connection between majors and careers. Most students can enter into the fields they want with lots of different majors.”
In 2017, 34.3 percent of UT students took longer than four years to graduate. Psychology senior Randi Crumblin, who will not graduate “on time,” said she feels pressured by counselors and UT to graduate in four years and does not see what the rush is for.
“I don’t like the feeling that I’m here too long,” Crumblin said. “I’m getting things in the mail asking if I want to get my cards for graduation, and I’m like, ‘Who said I was graduating?’ I never said that. I want to do well in my classes and space them out as opposed to just cramming them all together and not doing as well as I could.”
Alexis Bramlett, an English and sociology senior, who is also not graduating “on time,” said she believes people who graduate late are misjudged.
“There’s this stigma about students who graduate late,” Bramlett said. “They’re seen as lazy and not as intelligent, which doesn’t make any sense.”
Bramlett also said she thinks everyone has their own timetable to graduating.
“To some extent they’ve kind of discouraged me from doing two degrees even though that’s what I want to do,” Bramlett said. “They say it’s really important to graduate in four years because I’m going to have all this loan debt, and I’m like, ‘Well I’m already going to have loan debt,’ so I just want to pursue what I want to pursue.”