Isabella Cervantes

A graduate walks down the aisle during the University of Iowa’s Commencement Ceremony for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences spring 2022 graduates at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Point/counter point | Is it beneficial to complete your degree in four years?

Opinions writers Shahab Khan and Sam Knupp on graduation paths.

April 25, 2023



The American ethos is defined by one phrase: It’s all about the Benjamins.

From a young age, we are taught that it is the American Dream to earn the most money we can to afford the luxuries and necessities we need to sustain our lifestyle.

College is the place where American students go to develop the skills necessary to obtain a career and pursue the American dream. Therefore, it should also be mentioned that most students should finish their college education within the standard four-year timeframe rather than extend their stay.

While it may sound appealing to take your time finishing your college coursework, it is best for most students to graduate on time so that they can start to earn income as soon as possible.

This is because there is an opportunity cost with going to college. Once students graduate high school, they can go out in the workforce or go to college and potentially earn higher incomes in the future.  In other words, when people decide to attend college, they are forgoing the opportunity to make money in the workforce.

In four years, most people will have learned the skills they need to compete for jobs. Staying an extra year will not change potential earnings for college graduates.

Hence, most Americans should consider graduating within four years because they will have the potential to earn more money for a longer period compared to someone who stays in college for more than four years.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.



A lot of students feel pressure to graduate “on time” — whatever that means — and I’ve never understood it. I’m currently in my ninth college semester, still with one more to go.

Those of you who have completed second grade math have probably figured out that I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree a little late, and that’s okay. I honestly think I’m better off because of it.

My extended stint between high school and college graduation has allotted me extra time to develop as a person and figure out who I am and what I want.

Following my high school graduation in 2018, I took a semester off before attending community college for five of them — some part-time, some full-time.

During my gap semester, I worked 40 hours a week, saved money, and went on tour playing drums for a Blues Hall of Fame inductee.

My extended community college tenure gave me time to develop my skills in writing, music, and acting while also forming strong connections and friendships.

I worked some hefty hours, and it wasn’t always fun, but when I arrived at the University of Iowa in fall 2021, I was debt free. Although, that didn’t last long.

Now, in my fourth semester at the UI, I’ve realized journalism probably isn’t the career path I’m meant to take. With nothing but the upcoming fall semester remaining, I’m thankful I’ll have a few more months to build up my creative writing portfolio before going out into the real world.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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