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How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree? Ranking by Timing of Entry, Type of Institution, and Major

A newly released federal report, “2008-09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study,” confirms the wisdom of going straight into a private four year bachelor’s program immediately after completing high school. The report observes that bachelor’s degree recipients in 2007-08 who began their post-secondary studies at a community college took almost 20 percent longer to complete their degrees than those who started out at four year institutions, and those who began at four year private colleges finished faster than those at four-year public and for-profit institutions. Moreover, students who delayed entry into college by more than a year out of high school took almost 60 percent longer to complete their degrees than those who went directly to college.

Data on the median number of months to complete a bachelor’s degree follows.

Type of Student (time in months)
All Bachelor’s Recipients: 52
Delayed Entry into College: 80
Did Not Delay Entry: 51

First Institution (time in months)
Public 2-year: 63
Public 4-year: 52
Private 4-year: 45
For-Profit 4-year: 57

Institution Where Degree Earned
Public 4-year: 55
Private 4-year: 45
For-profit 4-year: 103

Major (time to complete in months)
Computer Sciences: 58
Engineering: 56
Biological/physical sciences, math: 45
General studies: 57
Social sciences: 45
Humanities: 45
Health Care: 57
Business: 53
Education: 54

While attending a four year college right out of high school is clearly in the interests of non-procrastinators, the strategy for finding your ideal institution is not as self-evident. Top Test Prep will assist you in finding that school and maximizing your chances of admission.

David Dickson is a counselor with Top Test Prep which offers private tutoring and test preparation with admissions experts who help you gain entry to your top choice prep schools, colleges and grad schools.

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