What percentage of college students graduate in 3 years?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 9.9% of 2015-2016 first-time bachelor’s degree students completed their degree in three (3) years or less after enrolling in post-secondary education. 

Below is the percentage of students that completed their bachelors within a specific number of months:

  • 44% completed their bachelors in 48 months or less
  • 20% completed their bachelors in 49-60 months
  • 9.9% completed their bachelors in 61-72 months 
  • 13.6% completed their bachelors in 73-120 months 
  • 12.3% completed their bachelors in 120 months or more

Benefits of graduating early 

  • Less financial responsibility – One fewer year of tuition equals one more year of income. Colleges and universities across the United States charge more than $60k a year for the cost of attendance. Finishing school in 3 years can potentially save you that much in the cost of attendance. 
  • More industry experience – Earning a college degree within three years will allow you to gain more industry experience. You’ll begin your post-graduate career path, whether working for a big corporation or starting your own company. 
  • More time to travel or take a break – If you have the funds to take some time off, graduating early could be the perfect opportunity. Traveling offers plenty in the way of real-world education and understanding of other cultures.

Drawbacks of graduating early

  • Rushing through unique learning opportunities – Many students who finish their bachelor’s degree in three years miss out on unique learning opportunities. How? These students tend to take the bare minimum when it comes to classes to graduate on time. College is full of interesting and exciting opportunities you may not have time to explore.
  • Limit access to higher-level classes – Higher level classes usually are major-specific. Graduating within three years may limit your exposure to advanced courses. 
  • Missing out on the college experience – College is where many students find their true identity and/or interest. The more time you spend making a connection, the more exposure you will have to the college experience and its benefits. Earning a degree in three years can be very overwhelming and can pose restrictions on your free time. Mostly leading to missing out on college life and all the excellent opportunities it comes with.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to graduating from college in three years. Do your research and make the decision that makes the most sensei for your life.