Students in jeopardy of extending their time at Kent have options

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John Borawski, senior advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Connor Everett

Graduating in four years allows students to get the credits they need at the lowest possible price, but staying longer could tack on thousands of dollars in additional loans or other expenses that could have been avoided.

During the first meeting students have with their academic advisor, a planned graduation date, typically four years ahead, is assigned. However, failing courses or taking insufficient credit hours can cause the potentially expensive need for extra semesters.

Failing courses can be taxing on the mental health of a college student whose graduation and future career is dependent on their academic success, said John Borawski, a senior advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Yes, it was a bump in the road,” Borawski said, “but we’re here to help them finish their degree. We want to help them be successful. We’re here to help them look at all their options.”

Danielle Bierwirth, a freshman political science major, said her performance in her courses is threatening her planned graduation date and her situation is detrimental for a student planning to go to law school after graduation.

“If I don’t do well in a class, my graduation date will be pushed back due to already having to take a lot of courses for my major,” Bierwirth said.

The most important part for students, Borawski said, is to speak with their academic advisor and discuss every option. If the student is committed to maintaining their planned graduation date, it will often come down to two possible options.

The options stem from Kent State’s slogan, “Got 15?” The university recommends students complete 15 credit hours a semester for eight semesters to graduate in four years, but if a student fails a three credit hour course, they end up with only 12. From there, they have two options.

The first option is to try the failed course again the next semester. However, combining the 15 credit hours needed each semester with the additional three credit courses needed to catch up means going up against 18 credits. 18 credit hours is the maximum amount allowed by the university per semester. Due to the intense workload this choice would likely require, it is recommended that it should be considered with extreme caution.

The other option is taking courses over the summer. Often times, major courses may not be available over the summer, but taking 3 credits worth of any course that applies to your degree means that a potential 18 credit semester could be rolled back to 15 credits, the amount recommended by the university.

The best solution, however, is to avoid the situation altogether. Borawski said that incoming freshmen should pay close attention to all the advice they get during orientation, and doing so would save them time and money in the long run.

Connor Everett covers recruiting and retention. Contact him at [email protected]