BS but did it take me too long?
March 26, 2007 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I have a BS from a well known school with a high GPA. The problem is it took me 6 years to do it. What are the chances of me getting into a master's program?
posted by 517 to Education (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pretty good.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:39 PM on March 26, 2007

It's hard to imagine they would take the time it took you to get your BS into consideration, there could be lots of diffrent reasons (changing majors, taking a few years off, etc).

Just study hard for the GRE and get a good score on that.
posted by delmoi at 2:40 PM on March 26, 2007

I can't imagine that your duration would be a big deal, unless there's some sort of red flag associated with it (i.e., trouble with the law.)
posted by herc at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2007

As someone who took 5 years to finish up and then got into a decent grad school, I can't imagine that it will be an issue. Taking more than 4 years is fairly common these days.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:46 PM on March 26, 2007

Yeah, what everyone else said. A buddy of mine is in his eighth and final year of college, and getting accepted to all the programs he applied to.

If there are a lot of drops in your transcript, that might look a little odd. In that case, be sure that one of your letters of recommendation addresses it.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:47 PM on March 26, 2007

I worked while getting my degree so it took 5 years. When I was considering grad school, my advisor said they wouldn't take that into consideration.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:48 PM on March 26, 2007

It's not that unusual. Your chances are quite good even without any explanation.

At many institutions, people find that the classes they need simply aren't offered with the availability they need in order to graduate in four years.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 2:49 PM on March 26, 2007

6 years is common. I know a lot of people who finished their degrees in 4 but stayed for another year or two taking extra courses (and getting better grades in them) just to boost their GPA for grad school.
posted by meerkatty at 2:51 PM on March 26, 2007

I took six years. I worked my way through college. I noted this on my grad school applications, not because I was trying to excuse the length of time, but because I wanted to explain how well-rounded I was. I got into my MBA without any trouble.

(I am always surprised by how many employment recruiters freak out about the six years. When I point out that my resume clearly shows I was working while going to school, they still seem suspicious. Even explaining that I had to pay my own way through school raises eyebrows...and I graduated from university 10 years ago.)
posted by acoutu at 3:00 PM on March 26, 2007

I took 6.5 to get mine (it was a double major, but both social science, so that's no excuse); ended with a GPA below 3, and got into Penn State's MPA program with no problem -- it's not Harvard Law, but no Hollywood Upstairs College of Medicine either.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:03 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also can't see why it would be a problem. Now, if it took six years because you failed a bunch of classes and had to take some over again, then you might run into trouble.

Most good grad schools will require an essay or personal statement to be submitted with the application. If you're really concerned about the 6 years, mention why it took you so long in your essay. But really, I can't see why it would be a problem.
posted by HotPatatta at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2007

Don't even mention it in a personal statement—that will just call attention to it. The admissions committee probably won't even notice it unless it is the consequence of drops, withdrawals, or repeated classes. I took five years myself.
posted by grouse at 3:17 PM on March 26, 2007

Everything I've heard--mostly from friends who are on their way to or in grad school--suggests that it's not that important. It's all about your recommendations and your writing sample, with most of the weight is placed on the writing sample.

Granted, I'm an English student--your mileage may vary depending on your major and intended graduate degree.
posted by thecaddy at 3:29 PM on March 26, 2007

Er, yes, don't mention that you took six years. I just mentioned that I worked through college -- I didn't say that this caused me to take longer. There are ways to address concerns without raising red flags.
posted by acoutu at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2007

well, i wouldn't call attention to the fact (there's no need, anyway, because it's right there on your transcript), but, really, honestly, six years is not a nonstandard amount of time for someone to complete a bachelor's degree. now, if it took you six years because you were, say, waffling over what to major in and it's evident from your transcript that you just sort of pulled a major together in your final year with what available credits you had lying around (i have family in university administration, this happens all. the. time.), that's--with good reason--going to hurt your chances as getting accepted into a program worth its salt. don't know what your field of study is/will be, but, otherwise, i don't see it being a significant factor.
posted by wreckingball at 6:16 PM on March 26, 2007

Isn't it only a minority of college freshpeople who graduate in only 4 years? Most folks take longer; according to the stats popping up at Graduation Watch, only 37% of freshpeople graduate in four years, and only 63% in six years.

I'll bet the folks who handle admissions at Master's programs know about numbers like that. You're probably fine.
posted by mediareport at 9:39 PM on March 26, 2007

a. no problem.
b. turn what you see as negative into positive.
c. money (tuition) is more important than you think.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:30 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

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