Graduation not always conceivable in 4 years

In less than a month, many Rattlers will attend a graduation ceremony that will finalize their four years as undergraduate students. Unfortunately, others won’t be so lucky.

According to Rattlers, not being able to complete undergraduate degrees in four years is a phenomenon brought on by many factors.

Andre Williams a senior engineering student from Indianapolis, Ind. has not taken the ideal four-year track to graduation. For Williams, a heavy course load and finances have held him back.

“I have many other financial responsibilities,” Williams said. “Plus, being an engineering student makes my classes pretty tedious, and I’m not able to take that many [classes] at once.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Williams is one of many students who find their financial obligations conflict with the amount of time they can devote to school.

According to NCES, roughly 80 percent of students in post-secondary education are employed, 50 percent of whom hold full-time jobs. Real-world jobs often compete with students’ study time and contribute to a failure to meet graduation requirements.

Still, some students have the time and money to graduate on time but don’t plan to.

Sholene James, for example, is a 20-year-old business student from Fort Lauderdale. She admits that the five-year masters program she’s in will take her more than five years to complete.

“Nobody ever graduates from this program in five years,” James said. “There’s so much to take in, and nobody wants to go exactly by the curriculum.”

Still, some students associate an inability to graduate on time with FAMU’s system rather than its students.

Nafi Williams, a freshman business student from New Jersey, feels errors are often delt to students in advising.

“I know that advisors here tell you not to take certain classes that you really need,” Williams said. “By the time students find out they really need those classes, it’s too late to get into them.”

What makes the situation even more difficult, according to Nafi Williams, is the fact that these classes aren’t open for enough students to begin with.

According to university registrar Michael James, roughly 80 percent of students who apply for graduation are approved. Roughly 20 percent of applicants find themselves facing at least another semester of school before receiving their diplomas.

“Many students don’t successfully complete the courses for which they are enrolled when they apply for graduation,” James said. “In other words, they fail them.”

Mika McLafferty can be reached at