13. Don’t take 10 years to get your four-year degree.



Taking 10 years instead of the requisite four to get your college degree is definitely something I wouldn’t recommend. It’s time consuming and expensive. Especially if you keep switching your major. Case in point: me. I didn’t stick to the major I started with – Theater Arts. Let’s just say my dad wasn’t too thrilled with my ambitions (or prospects) of being an actress. So to appease him, I became a business major. This time, I was the one who wasn’t too thrilled. So I decided to change my major yet again. I chose English Literature, figuring it was practical, yet creative. Finally, at the age of 27, yours truly was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in English. If I’d just stuck to theater arts (and honestly, if you’re a liberal arts major, nobody really cares what your degree is in), I could have had my degree when I was 22. I do have a ton of units, by the way. Although, today some might say getting a four-year degree isn’t worth it. But a recent study says it is:


Word to the wise: Unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer or nuclear physicist, get your degree in four years – even if your major is Home Economics. One of my roommates chose that as her major and ended up being a real-estate appraiser making upward of $175,000 per year (well, the market was good once).

How long did it take you to get your degree and do you think it matters? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in“Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”


About Eva Finn

Eva Finn is an award-winning marketing copywriter, advertising instructor and life expert. She started the blog, Wise Before 25 so young women can avoid making the same mistakes she did. This blog will become a book of the same title, which will include contributions from readers. She was also published in a book about the subject of hair– the good, bad and the ugly – called, fittingly enough, Hair Pieces, by the Cary Tennis Workshop. As a copywriter for more than 20 years, she has written ads, brochures, direct mail, radio and television for clients that included In-N-Out Burger, Bank of America, Toyota and Ingram Micro. Eva has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education. She has taught advertising classes at The Art Institute of California-Orange County and California State University, Fullerton. And she has had plenty of hard knocks from the school of life.

4 responses »

  1. I’m still in college going for two BAs and on track to finish those both in 4 years, which will be completed by June 2013. The majors are Asian Literature & Culture: Chinese and Art (studio). The reason I choose them is because I have interest in those two things and nobody encouraged me to change my course of action. I have 2 quarters go, but still have no idea what the heck I’m going to do when I get out.

    Now, although most people expect to get out and start working, I know that’s not going to happen for me. Not only am I 21 going on 22, but I don’t even know how to drive. Which means I couldn’t do any internships or off campus jobs for experience in fields to find out what I may or may not want to do in the future. So my suggestion is this: regardless of what you’re doing in college, please find ways to get experience learning out what you do or don’t want to do with your BA.

    • Bree, my darling, learn to drive! What’s up with that? Putting that aside, I think what you’ve done is brilliant. I have no doubt that you will have a great and rewarding career in something related to your degree. The main thing is that hopefully you enjoyed your experience. I don’t know that anyone should have discouraged you. As far as figuring out what you want to do, start (and I’m sure you have already) researching online and seeing the types of companies you’d like to work for. That was always a good place to start for me. Then when I found a few, I pursued them relentlessly until they had to let me in. I wish you all the success in the world – but get your driver’s license first!!! 🙂

  2. Took me seven. Just to be a graphic designer/art director. Though to be fair, none of my peers were able to complete their degrees in less than five or six. I started in fine arts and swerved over to visual communication, which was a minor detour. And an impacted program with a portfolio review tacked on another year or two. Still, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Totally worth it to do something you love. Plus, I had time to take all kinds of interesting electives. My mom always said, “knowledge and education are never a waste of time.” I agree!

    • Well, I wish I’d had your experience. I’m very glad to have my four-year degree, but boy, some of the detours I took – like two years of business classes – I could have done without. I don’t think I’ll ever appreciate Accounting I and II or Business Law…But yes, all totally worth it!

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