Allow me to preface this by saying: This is not an ad. Degree in Three is a program offered at FSU with special advisors who aid you in graduating in three years or less. The benefit of choosing to graduate in this time is for students who are looking to get into the workforce sooner, are paying for college on their own, or are considering graduate school. Degree in Three seeks out students who have already received college credit while they were in high school, placing them slightly ahead of most freshmen. It is open to any major; although, it can be difficult if you are in the route of pre-med or engineering, which can take four or five years to complete a degree. If this is something you are considering, this was my experience and what I learned during my time in this program:
1. Changing majors in the program
Degree in Three expects those who are joining to be confident in their current majors and career paths. This is because once you join the program, you will be on a fast track to graduate early, thrusting you into your major and leaving little chance to turn back. I was a psychology major at the time of being accepted into the program. By spring, I had decided to change my major to English. At this time, I had been in the program for about five months. If you do end up deciding to change your major, doing this while you are still finishing up your general education courses would be the best time. Being able to finish in three years is also dependent on the major that you switch to; if it requires a strict path or more time, you may be unable to stay in the program. You must also be proactive in ensuring that you get all of your information updated with the program so that they can create a new schedule plan for you when you switch majors.
Aside from the advisors, you see at your college, there are also advisors who work for the Degree in Three program, who you can contact you ensure you are staying on track. In some cases, they will reach out to you to make sure you don’t have any questions or that you are not straying from your plan. When you are going into your senior year (30 credits from graduation), they will reach out to you for a meeting so that you can ask any questions and to confirm that you are able to graduate at your expected date. I only met with this advisor twice in my two years, though I didn’t require more. However, it would have been nice had they reached out more to their members.
When you are cutting out one year of school, that means cramming in classes here and there throughout the three years to make up for the year lost. This varies for everyone depending on what you already have done and the major they are a part of. Each major has its own requirements, meaning that your workload could be much heavier. In my experience, I was taking up to 17 hours a semester. As time passed this did decrease. Now in my senior year, I am taking 15 credits each semester and I had my summer classes waived. Overall, my personal workload was not more than I could handle and did not overwhelm me. Keep in mind the work expected for each major does differ and 17 credit hours could be staggering for other majors.
Being that we are in college, there is an expectation for students to reach out to their resources if they need help. This reigns true in this program as well. We may expect that they will guide us along and want to check on us more throughout the semester; however, I received about three emails from them reaching out throughout my time in the program. In fact, they don’t require you to meet with them every semester or even every year. They simply reach out with an offer to meet if you are feeling that you have questions or that you are off course. While it would have been nice to have them email and request meetings more often, as college students, we should be able to reach out on our own if we are straying from our graduation paths.
5. Exploratory majors
Exploratory majors can and have been accepted into the major. Going into the major, I was not exploratory. Degree in Three asks that you be sure of and declare your major at the time that you enroll in the program. They ask this because they would like to be able to plan out your three years, but they cannot plan your schedules and classes if you are still unsure about what you would like to do. This hinders their ability to help you.
6. Senior meeting
When you are thirty credits away from graduating–senior year– they will ask for a meeting to check that you are set to graduate. In this meeting, I was able to ask questions, submit my graduation checklist to the College of Arts and Sciences, and plan my last two semesters. I did find it helpful that they reached out at this time so that if there was something you still had to do to graduate, you could learn this early on and have all of your senior year to take care of this. I was also unaware of what my next steps should be when going into your senior year: What paperwork do I fill out? When is it due? Questions like these were easily answered at this time.
7. Schedule planning
Once you have been admitted into the program, you will meet with an advisor who is a specialized Degree in Three program. They are trained to answer questions regarding Degree in Three, as well as help you to prepare and keep to your schedule. This schedule is broken down into three years, with three columns for each year: Summer, Fall, and Spring. In these columns, you will be writing the classes you have to take to graduate and when you will be taking them. This will also provide you with a breakdown of how many hours you will have in each semester. Some parts are vague, for example, if you are taking electives this is left as “elective”, this is purposeful so that you know you have to take it but the option is left to you for what you will take.
8. Planning ahead
Planning is the key aspect of this program, both on the part of the program and you. Not only do they provide a class plan for you, but they ask you to consider if there is anything you want to participate in that you should start upon entering the program. An example being, if you are wanting to do an Honors in the Major thesis to be awarded on your diploma and acknowledged at graduation, you have to plan ahead 2 to 3 semesters in advance for this. Or if you want to do more than one minor at some point, they will have to plan for this as well. These are just some examples I have come across in my experience; however, you should be conscious about being proactive and planning ahead to fit everything you would like to do in your three years at FSU. To learn more, follow this link:https://gps.fsu.edu/degree-in-three.