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Should I stay or should I go?
January 18, 2013 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I had been planning to graduate college in three years, but the opportunity to stay an extra semester has come up. Should I take it?

Basically there's the promise of some free money that would allow me to go one more semester of college for near-free. While I have pretty good odds, this money is not guaranteed, and I have to decide one way or another if I'm going to stay before finding out if I get the grant.

Pros:
Free education.
Time for another summer internship.
More time to be in college.

Cons:
I may not get the grant, in which case I would have to pay back more money (amounting to $20K versus $15K).
I'm basically done with my major, and am not sure that I'm interested in studying much else.
I don't particularly want to graduate in December.
I'm trying to pursue full-time employment, and if I got a job that would prevent me from coming back anyway.
More time to be in college.

Other considerations:
I don't need to raise my GPA by taking extra classes.
I've already studied abroad.
I'm pretty sure that an extra semester would not affect my chances of being hired.

To be honest I'm ready to graduate, but I know this is an opportunity that deserves serious consideration.

So should I stay or should I go? Am I overlooking anything?
posted by tooloudinhere to Education (14 answers total)
 
I would say you should stay unless you are positively sure you know what you're doing when you graduate (i.e. you have a job). You can take some "fun" classes, get some internship experience, use the free time to look for jobs, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:23 AM on January 18, 2013


I can't imagine this being worth it if it turns out you end up owing five grand. Seriously, unless a professor you love is teaching a class you will be kicking yourself the rest of your life for not taking, get the hell out of there and go do shit.
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


If there are classes you'd still like to take and it won't cost you much, go for it. If you feel like you've accomplished what you want to, or it would cost much more, probably not worth it.

Maybe start hitting the job search hard now -- if you know you've got something lined up after May, you'll know you don't need to stay until December. If you don't have any luck finding something, you might still be able to stay in school in hope that the market's more promising next winter.
posted by asperity at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2013


What field are you in? Are there electives you could take which would be handy line items for your CV?
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 8:25 AM on January 18, 2013


I wouldn't, especially if there's nothing you're particularly interested in using the time to study. The education may be 'free', but it isn't free - there's the cost of your time, for one thing. And free education, in the sense of financially free, is not a difficult thing to find. Certainly there are some subjects for which a formal educational environment is necessary, but I don't get the sense you have a particular educational goal you're trying to achieve here. It sort of sounds like you might end up wasting the time.

I'm also not sure how a summer internship is a better prospect than simply finding a job, but this I can chalk up to educational cultural differences.

I'd be putting my energy into the job search were I you. Especially as there's a chance this could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
posted by lwb at 8:25 AM on January 18, 2013


Under the cons list, you many not necessarily be out $5K, unless you are not able to drop/withdraw from school after finding out that you didn't get the grant. At many schools you are able to do this without penalty, assuming it is close to the beginning of the semester/quarter.

That said, though, if you are ready to graduate, unless you have a compelling reason to stay, I'm not sure taking an extra semester of classes would be that much of an advantage to you.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:28 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


@Kikujiro's Summer: I'm an English major, and I've taken all the writing classes I can, so no.
posted by tooloudinhere at 8:39 AM on January 18, 2013


I'm an English major, and I've taken all the writing classes I can, so no.

Well, hang on. I don't necessarily think you should do this, but I bet there are classes you could take that would improve your employability. What about taking some stats classes, or similar? I don't think more writing classes would improve your employability a great deal, but building up a technical skill that sets you apart from other English grads might help, if you can.
posted by lwb at 8:45 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Will the grant look good on your resume once you're done? If it's something special, it might be worth staying for that. But otherwise, there are pros and cons and no obvious anwer, and you seem to be leaning against it.
posted by jeather at 9:00 AM on January 18, 2013


Well Fellow English Major,

What do you plan to do with that fine degree? If all you're good for now is entering the workforce, honey the sooner the better. Sticking around just because you can isn't the answer.

I could have graduated high school a semester early, but like a dolt I stayed so that I could hang out with my buds and go to the prom. As it turns out, most of my buds spent their time ditching class, and I didn't go to the prom because by the time it came around I didn't want to.

Go ahead and start lining up interviews and put your resume together, I know it's scary, but it's time to put your big-kid panties on and go out and make your way in the world.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:53 AM on January 18, 2013


No, graduate ASAP. The longer you stay, the more experience and wages you lose. There is nothing you can learn in college that you won't learn much better in the working world.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:59 AM on January 18, 2013


To be honest I'm ready to graduate

there's your answer :)
posted by wildflower at 11:36 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If staying the extra semester would not significantly improve your qualifications for whatever you want to go into, it's a waste of time. You're ready to move on, so go, boldly...
posted by dry white toast at 12:39 PM on January 18, 2013


People will be impressed looking at your resume when they notice that you graduated in 3 years. If staying in school means you have the chance to do some really great internship that wouldn't be open to you as a non-student, that might be worth sticking around for. But otherwise, I'd say no.
posted by lakeroon at 7:12 PM on January 18, 2013


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