Whatyousay

A few loose screws
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I found out today that, due to my double degree, my university would be willing to extend my scholarship to a 5th year if I decided to stay an extra year.

Given that money is no longer a major issue, I'm really torn on whether or not staying in school for 5 years is a good decision. If I choose to stay on the 4 year track, my next academic year will consist of 17 hours of upper-division engineering coursework each semester - not impossible, but not a formula for success, either. Since I'm planning to apply in Texas, those engineering classes get lumped into my sGPA as well, so it's imperative that I do well in them. On the other hand, extra year = extra year of schoolwork.

I was wondering if any SDNers who went with the 5 year undergrad track would be willing to share their experiences - would they do it again, or did they regret it? Does the extra year of breathing room offset the extra tests / classes / not moving on with your friends?

After searching through the archives, I've been getting a lot of mixed messages on the matter, so any advice would be appreciated!
 

illegallysmooth

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I found out today that, due to my double degree, my university would be willing to extend my scholarship to a 5th year if I decided to stay an extra year.

Given that money is no longer a major issue, I'm really torn on whether or not staying in school for 5 years is a good decision. If I choose to stay on the 4 year track, my next academic year will consist of 17 hours of upper-division engineering coursework each semester - not impossible, but not a formula for success, either. Since I'm planning to apply in Texas, those engineering classes get lumped into my sGPA as well, so it's imperative that I do well in them. On the other hand, extra year = extra year of schoolwork.

I was wondering if any SDNers who went with the 5 year undergrad track would be willing to share their experiences - would they do it again, or did they regret it? Does the extra year of breathing room offset the extra tests / classes / not moving on with your friends?

After searching through the archives, I've been getting a lot of mixed messages on the matter, so any advice would be appreciated!

I squeezed in a second major, and my courseload was a bad idea, especially because I had research going on too. It completely depends on how much work you think you would have to do. Maybe sit down and add up how many hours you'd be regularly studying for each class, and see if it's too much?
 
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I'm in the same boat as OP, well sort of. I came into college with about 36 credits that I took during high school and since I was never big on studying those were mostly B's. I still didn't have that great of study habits my freshman year of college so again I had pretty much all B's with a D+ in calc 2 and a C+ in gen bio :)scared:). So I plan on taking a 5th year to retake a lot of those classes I did poorly in as well as spread out the sciences so I can take the time to learn them and hopefully add on a global studies major. I also need to take the time to raise my GPA from about 2 straight years of 3.0.

I know what you mean about not moving on with your classmates. It's hard to accept that when your whole life you have moved on from the next grade with everyone else your age. I try to keep in mind that at the University level everyone's story is different. I'm not as much afraid about not moving on with everyone else my age as I am about paying for the extra year. My family definitely doesn't have a lot of money and I haven't even thought about the grants/loans/scholarships that are available to 5th year seniors. If anyone has some advice on that it would be much appreciated!
 

amakhosidlo

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I did it (double degree), definitely gave me a chance to take more upper div sciences, boost my GPA, add EC's. If you've already got a good app and job prospects, I wouldn't recommend it (Why risk it w/ those engineering classes.) If not, go for it. Staying in school sure as hell beats life in the real world...
 

Ari1584

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I went to my undergrad for 5 years and I know exactly how you feel. My story was a little diff bc it took me 5 yrs bc i changed my major from business to biology at the end of my sophomore yr, which added on more time to my track. I could have graduated in 4 years if i piled on all my science courses and labs but I would have had no time for volunteering and other extracirriculur actitivies that i was involved in.

I was upset when i first learned it would take me longer to graduate but i realized that in order to do the best possible job in my classes...I would have to spread them out evenly. This left me time for being able to go to organic and biochem review sessions, staying on the dance team and volunteering and shadowing doctors. Most importantly, I was able to get A's in my classes which raised my previous GPA tremendously.

I would definitely recommend to do the same to anyone that asks for advice on this subject. A lot of my friends graduated in 4 yrs, but a handful of people did it in 5 like me. On top of this, I had to take a full year off AFTER graduating in order to re-take and re-study for the MCAT. I truly believe that I would not have received acceptances this year if it wasn't for my decision to spread out my courses and to take a year off to study, volunteer and work.

In the end, do what you think is best for YOU. Don't be too concerned with thinking you are the only one that is behind and everyone else is moving on. YOU WILL GET there at your own pace. It gets hard at times when people around you start working their 9-5 jobs and making money, but remember we are all on this path bc this is our passion and we wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Stay tha extra year. Get the best pssible grades you can. Volunteer and work on more of your application and get invovled in some organizations around school. Also, enjoy that final year of college bc once you are out, you will miss it horribly! Good luck!! :)
 

d1ony5u5

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I did 5 years in undergrad. I think in the long run it was a really good idea, although it did have its disadvantages. My story is a little different in that I took a year off from my science major to go abroad to study literature. Needless to say, I had to do a 4year science major +1year literature minor combo.

I think It helped tremendously in that I was able to take my science courses as anyone else would, spread out. Cramming them, although possible, would have been really stressful. This also gave me time to pursue other activities. Don't forget that for application purposes your GPA/MCAT are only part of the story. You could show that you compressed your 2 degrees into 4 years, but if you slack on EC's, it might do more harm than good.

The disadvantages were that I felt really lonely during my 5th year. All my friends went on to graduate and work or into graduate/professional programs while I stayed behind doing the same thing (more or less). This was a bit hard because I felt too old to still be in undergrad, but also that I had not yet earned what was required to move on with my peers (the degree). It didn't help motivation-wise to hear of all the cool exciting things my friends were doing while I was "stuck" with the old routine still.

Anyway, I overcame all those minor problems and graduated. Thinking back on it, it was a good idea, in my opinion. I also got more perspective and matured a bit more, so that I was definitely ready to make a good case in my application when I finally decided to apply to medschool.

I would recommend taking the extra year, but would urge you to consider the downsides first and accept whether the risks/rewards of this option are worth it to you.
 
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Perrotfish

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If you do the 4 year degree, I see it as losing 2 of what should the best years of your life: 1 to a compressed and stressful schedule and the other one to the desire to start life early. Also, as you mentioned, taking a ton of engineering credits all at once is not exactly a great plan to maintain/improve your application even if you didn't need to study for the MCAT, which you do. I say stay, enjoy your time, do very well, and if possible try to cram in a few more of those experiences that are so much easier to do in college than anywhere else (study abroad, road trips, parties, etc.)

For personal experience: I did 5 years and I feel like it was a really good decision. I would not have been ready to leave after just 4, academically or otherwise. It also helped that as an engineering major very few of my classmates graduated in 4 years, so I didn't feel like the odd one out. I'm guessing you'll have a similar experience if one of your degrees is in engineering.
 

silverhorse84

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I spent 5 years in undergrad because of switching majors. Many of my premed friends are a year ahead of me in med school, but for me it was awesome - I learned from all their mistakes from their application year before I had to do mine ;)
 

Morsetlis

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Is the additional coursework likely to BOOST your GPA or LOWER it?

Only YOU can answer this question.

The extra degree isn't worth a lot. An additional year of researching/volunteering is. However, so is raising your GPA.
 

Whatyousay

A few loose screws
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The extra degree isn't worth a lot. An additional year of researching/volunteering is. However, so is raising your GPA.
Part of the reason why I want to stay an extra year is because I want to get some meaningful research under my belt - just based on what previous graduates have told me, though, with my current schedule, I won't be able to fit in research in until sometime in my senior year.

So my desire to stay 5 years in partially motivated by a desire to not get buried by my coursework, and partially motivated by a desire to do some research.

However, assuming that my GPA / ECs are pretty good right now, should I just grind out those engineering classes in one year and forget research, or is research that big of a sticking point that it justifies staying an extra year (a year subsidized by the school, mind you, but still an extra year, nonetheless)?
 

MegaSpectacular

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I found out today that, due to my double degree, my university would be willing to extend my scholarship to a 5th year if I decided to stay an extra year.

Given that money is no longer a major issue, I'm really torn on whether or not staying in school for 5 years is a good decision. If I choose to stay on the 4 year track, my next academic year will consist of 17 hours of upper-division engineering coursework each semester - not impossible, but not a formula for success, either. Since I'm planning to apply in Texas, those engineering classes get lumped into my sGPA as well, so it's imperative that I do well in them. On the other hand, extra year = extra year of schoolwork.

I was wondering if any SDNers who went with the 5 year undergrad track would be willing to share their experiences - would they do it again, or did they regret it? Does the extra year of breathing room offset the extra tests / classes / not moving on with your friends?

After searching through the archives, I've been getting a lot of mixed messages on the matter, so any advice would be appreciated!
Don't RUSH! Take your time and line up for success.

Rushers never prosper.
 

Ari1584

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Part of the reason why I want to stay an extra year is because I want to get some meaningful research under my belt - just based on what previous graduates have told me, though, with my current schedule, I won't be able to fit in research in until sometime in my senior year.

So my desire to stay 5 years in partially motivated by a desire to not get buried by my coursework, and partially motivated by a desire to do some research.

However, assuming that my GPA / ECs are pretty good right now, should I just grind out those engineering classes in one year and forget research, or is research that big of a sticking point that it justifies staying an extra year (a year subsidized by the school, mind you, but still an extra year, nonetheless)?
Do research for that extra year. I think it is more beneficial to get some research under your belt, have breathing room during your last years of school, and do well in your classes.