All Posts Tagged With: "victory lap"
Students are staying longer for a variety of reasons
When Michael Prior came to the University of British Columbia in 2008, he expected to spend the standard four years at the school.
Now in his fifth year, he realizes his original plan was unrealistic. The 22-year-old English Literature major has funded most of his own education, so he works for pay about 20 hours a week. That requires a lighter course load.
Prior is hardly alone. In fact, graduating more than four years after starting may be the new standard. A recent study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario reports that less than half of Ontario university students finish in four years.
Hannah Talbot, a first year Arts student at UBC, was surprised. “I always thought that it was a four-year deal until I came to university and realized a lot of people were in their fifth or sixth year.”
Few schools guarantee graduation in four years
It’s so common for students nearing the end four-year degrees to suddenly learn they’ll need to take an extra semester that they’ve developed a name for the phenomenon—the victory lap. Actually, make that two names. I recently heard it dubbed “the fourth-year surprise” too.
Whatever you call it, finding out you need a fifth year of school upends plans for graduate school, starting a career, moving to a new city, travelling. It also destroys your budget, as thousands of extra dollars are suddenly needed at a time when you’ve been drained. Oh, and try getting student loans for one course.
I know what that’s like. I was forced to do victory lap after receiving bad advice at the University of Guelph, which was happy to have me back as a paying customer for an extra four months.
That’s why I was pleased to hear last week that more U.S. schools are guaranteeing students can graduate in four years, so long as they follow all the rules. At least 20 U.S. schools now offer four-year graduation promises and more are planning to add them, Tony Pals, spokesperson for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, told the Wall Street Journal.
How guidance is failing our students
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings issue—on newsstands now.
Until mid-July, 25-year-old James Douglas pretty much had his life planned out. A fourth-year political science student at a major Canadian university, he anticipated finishing his degree at the end of the summer semester, in August, and graduating with his B.A. this fall. Douglas was in touch with several prospective employers in Toronto, his hometown, as well as in Ottawa, and had allowed the lease on his apartment to lapse. Then he received the phone call that upended all of that.
The call came from the registrar’s office, and informed Douglas that his application for graduation had been turned down. At issue was a three-credit course taken early in his career that his academic adviser had sworn up and down could be put toward his degree as an elective. Not so, the registrar’s office now said. At his entreaties, university officials dug into “some dusty book with fine print on p. 709” and pronounced the course in question as unfit to count toward his poli-sci B.A.
When my biology teacher started talking about a victory lap during class last week, I figured she must be talking about race cars. Or maybe the sound her cat makes when it drinks. But apparently ‘victory lap’ can also be directly translated to, “A grade 12 student that stays behind for an extra year because, [...]
When my biology teacher started talking about a victory lap during class last week, I figured she must be talking about race cars. Or maybe the sound her cat makes when it drinks. But apparently ‘victory lap’ can also be directly translated to, “A grade 12 student that stays behind for an extra year because, well, they can.”
I’m staying open-minded though. I’m sure there are some valid and compelling reasons for staying behind in the public school system for an extra year. I just haven’t figured them out yet. And until then, I admit, I’ll continue to think that willingly staying behind for an extra 200 days of high school is (nearly) the dumbest idea on the planet. Of course, nothing is more dumb than Toby Maguire having been cast as an action hero.
I mean, it’s not like my school offers “Basket Weaving 101” or “Why Star Wars is way Better than Star Trek” courses. You know, to artificially inflate my grade point average to look better on my university applications.
So isn’t calling it a ‘victory lap’ sort of like calling a house with a roof that’s been peeled back by a tornado “open concept” ?