Western’s on-time graduation rate sits at nearly 40 percent, with the overall graduation rate rising above 70 percent; both statistics are above the national average.
Washington State University shares similar graduation rates with Western, with an on-time graduation rate of 42 percent. Meanwhile, University of Washington has an on-time graduation rate of 61 percent.
Additional schooling outside of what is considered graduating on time differs for in- and out-of-state students. For example, a Washington state resident planning on spending two extra quarters at Western would expect to pay an extra $5,000 in tuition, while out-of-state students spending upwards of $13,000.
Western mathematics professor Amber Goodrich said extra time on campus often has to do with switching and developing an academic path.
“I think part of the reason [students] are not getting through in four years is because they change their own direction,” Goodrich said. “Which I think is really important for them to do, because I think the person you come in at 18 is not necessarily the person you are going to leave as at 22.”
When advising students on creating an academic path, Goodrich said to stick with General University Requirements as a new student and not jump straight into courses geared for specific majors. Goodrich spoke about a former student who faced challenges after the student focused too heavily on a subject early and changed his mind.
A Washington state resident planning on spending two extra quarters at Western would expect to pay an extra $5,000 in tuition, while out-of-state students spending upwards of $13,000.
Western mathematics professor Amber Goodrich
“He immediately jumped into these science courses and these computer science courses, but it turns out he didn’t like it. So, he changed completely, and now he is in the business program,” Goodrich said. “That’s starting over, almost. He has to take all these new courses in business and business management that he wasn’t ready for, so he is going to be here longer.”
For senior computer science major Jack Burke, the extra time needed to graduate comes down to having to wait quarter-to-quarter to take classes necessary to graduate. Burke said planning out schedules in advance once a major is decided is necessary in dealing with these complications.
“For computer science, it was hard to get into the classes I needed to because they fill up so fast,” Burke said. “They can only allow so many people in each class. They do not have enough teachers to teach how many people they let into the computer science program.”
Senior Robert Von Zimmerman also said some classes are only offered at specific times, thus creating scheduling conflicts for graduating on time if a student can’t get into the class the quarter it’s offered.
David Carroll, chair head of the Elementary Education Department at Woodring College, agrees that class sizes are one of the issues impacting students ability to graduate on time.
“Our collective challenge across the University is to have enough space in the classes they need at the right time,” Carroll said.
Obtaining a degree from Woodring College of Education requires more quarters than the majority of majors at Western, with elementary education, which requires a year-long internship, and special education averaging almost five years to receive a degree.
Nearly 72 applications for 32 spaces means getting into the major itself can be a challenge, Carroll said.
Senior Zach New said reaching out to a member of the faculty familiar with mapping out a schedule is a helpful resource for students.
“Forcibly find an adviser who will really help you, going to different ones until you find one that is useful,” New said.
Western’s Academic Advising Center is located at Old Main 380.