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Your Guide to Graduating College in 3 Years

Wonder how to graduate college early? Grace College makes graduating college in 3 years a reality. Learn how to graduate college in 3 years.

One of the distinctive attributes of Grace College is our three-year program. We were one of the first schools in the nation to make this accelerated program available to our students in an effort to save them time and money when it comes to their college education. Now, years later, nearly a third of our students take advantage of this program, graduating college in 3 years. But how exactly does this program work? Does it strip me of my social life? Do I have to apply to participate? We will answer all of these questions and more!

Read on to find out more about how to graduate college in 3 years. 

How do we do it?  

You’re gonna be delighted to know that the answer to how to graduate college early is really quite simple. At Grace, we take our 16 week semesters and cut them in half into two eight-week sessions. During these sessions, you take three classes at a time, which amounts to nine credit hour semesters. Multiply this by two, and you’re taking a total of 18 credits each semester. 

Now, this may seem like a heavy load, but the session schedule allows you to take 18 credits without feeling overwhelmed. This system really allows you to dive deep into the three classes you are taking. And if you’re not enjoying a class, you only have to get through eight weeks of it! This methodology also gives you more time to process content with your professors. 

On top of the eight-week sessions during the school year, graduating college in 3 years requires you to take two six-week summer courses. These courses are at no extra cost to you. You only have to pay a $300 online course fee per class.
Through this method, you are able to earn 120 credits in three years even if you do not bring any college credits. This way, you save one-fourth of your college costs. Now that’s a good deal. 

When do I need to decide if I’m graduating college in 3 years? 

We recommend that you start with a full semester course load and decided whether or not it is for you as you experience it. Even if you haven’t decided on a major yet, there are plenty of CORE classes that you can take in your first semester at Grace. It’s much easier to slow down than to speed up and make up for the lost time. 

Can I double major? 

Yes! We know you must be an overachiever for asking this question — but we love it! The three-year program does allow you to double major, but because our program operates on a 120 credit hour basis, the feasibility of this will depend on the programs you choose. For some combinations that have little overlap, you may be required to obtain more than 120 credits and therefore stay longer than three years. If that is the case, you might still be able to graduate in three if you have dual credits coming in. If not, you may want to reevaluate your major pairings. 

Pro tip: Our majors in the Behavioral Sciences are perfect for pairing. Try double majoring in psychology and criminal justice or sociology and counseling!

Can anyone graduate in three years? 

Most anyone at Grace can graduate in three years. For those coming into Grace with below a 3.0 GPA, our academic advisory committee recommends that you start on the four-year track in order to ensure that you succeed and thrive in college. This is not a hard and fast rule — for those of you who have below a 3.0 but feel as though you are up for the three-year accelerated program, this option is still available to you! 

How many students graduate early? 

Here are some fast facts for you!

At Grace College: 

  • 45% of our students graduate in less than 4 years. 
  • 30-35% are participating in the 3-year degree. 
  • 10% of our students are graduating in four years with their bachelor’s and master’s degrees through our dual degree program

What if I have dual credits from high school? 

If you have taken advantage of dual credit options in high school — you are in luck! You will be able to pursue the three-year program with ease! And sometimes those with a lot of credits coming in are able to graduate in even less than three years. 

Are there any majors that you cannot finish in three years? 

Yes, but there are just a few. Our nursing, engineering, and medical imaging programs are all four-year programs. There are a few others, like education that can be done in three years, but it may not be ideal. For example, education requires a heavy number of credits as well as a semester of student teaching. Therefore, it is a program that we recommend you complete in three and a half years rather than three.

I’m an athlete; is graduating college in 3 years an option for me? 

As an athlete, you have four years of eligibility in your sport. While your coach will most likely encourage you to play all four seasons, it is ultimately up to you whether or not you stay for four years or three. For fall sports like soccer, you can finish your degree in three and a half years, while still playing all four of your seasons. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make!

What can I expect once I get to Grace? 

When you arrive at Grace, we can assure you that your academic advisor will help you answer all of the questions you have regarding how to graduate college early. Figuring out how to fit all of your requirements into a three-year program can be a bit of a puzzle. But with the help of your advisor, the assistance of our online course planner on our portal, and intentional planning on your part, you should not have a problem graduating college in 3 years. 

A Bonus Degree!

Since graduating early is of interest to you, you might be the type of person interested in our bachelor’s and master’s dual degree programs. These allow you to work on your graduate work at the same time as your undergraduate coursework. And the best part is — because you are primarily enrolled in undergraduate classes, you retain your undergraduate financial aid. You receive your bachelor’s and master’s degrees for the price of one. 

Master’s programs in four total years: 

Business Administration

Higher Education

Nonprofit Management

Ministry Studies

Master’s programs in five total years: 

Master of Divinity

Master in Integrative Medicine

Master in Hospital Administration

Do you have more questions about graduating college in 3 years? Contact our admissions counselors at They will be happy to answer any questions you have!

Tagged With: Academics, Accelerated Degree Program, About Grace College