Students who graduate in six semesters (three years of normal course loads plus summer courses) may expect to save about 20 percent of the total cost of a Wesleyan education. The three-year option is not for everyone, but for those students who are able to declare their majors early, earn credit during Wesleyan summer sessions, and take advantage of the wealth of opportunities on campus, this more economical path to graduation can be of genuine interest. A maximum of two pre-matriculant credits (such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college credits earned during high school) may be applied toward an accelerated program. Students pursuing the three-year option will be held to all the graduation requirements for the Wesleyan bachelor of arts degree. Students considering this option should consult during their first year with Dean David Phillips to review policies and procedures.
Navigating the Three-Year Option
For most students, the greatest challenge lies in figuring out a way to earn 32.00 credits and complete the particular course requirements for the major in six semesters instead of eight. Understanding the ways of earning additional credit and accelerating the pace of one’s semester standing is crucial for developing a feasible three-year academic plan.
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Students considering the Three-Year Option should consult with their class dean, faculty advisor, and the three-year option coordinator to determine whether it makes sense for them in the context of their larger educational and career goals.
Earning Additional Credit
There are several ways of earning the additional credits needed to graduate on a three-year timeline. Most students who graduate early use a combination of pre-matriculant credit, summer credit, and in-semester course overload:
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Pre-matriculant credit. Up to 2.00 pre-matriculant credits may be applied towards graduation.
Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test credit. In most cases (exceptions include Biology, English, Computer Science, and Physics) it is necessary to first complete a course in an appropriate Wesleyan department to convert an AP or IB exam into Wesleyan credit.
College courses taken in high school. To be eligible for Wesleyan credit, the course must have been taken with college students and taught by a college professor on a college campus. If the course is listed for credit on the high school transcript, it may not be used for Wesleyan credit
Summer credit. Summer credit may be earned through the Wesleyan Summer Session or transferred to Wesleyan from another college or university.
Wesleyan Summer Session. Students can earn up to 2.00 credits (2.50 credits if also enrolled in a lab) during an intensive four-week summer session that takes place every June. Both credit and grades for summer session courses are posted to the student record.
Transfer credit from another college or university. Students may transfer up to 2.00 credits from another college or university during any given summer. Permission to transfer credit must first be granted by the appropriate Wesleyan department. Only the credit (and not the grade) will be transferred to the Wesleyan academic record.
In-semester course overload. A student may enroll in more than 4.00 credits during the semester. To do so, the student’s faculty advisor must raise the course enrollment limit for the semester. Depending on the nature and intensity of the student’s schedule, the course overload option should be exercised with care.
Accelerating Semester Standing
Wesleyan’s pace calculation assumes that a student will earn 4.00 credits per semester for eight semesters to reach the graduation requirement of 32.00 credits by the end of the senior year.
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To accelerate one’s semester standing, one must have already earned the minimum number of credits needed to advance to the next level of pace.
Normally, students at Wesleyan declare the major in the fourth semester, during the spring of the sophomore year (since they will have completed the third-semester pace of at least 10 credits by this time). Students pursuing the three-year option, however, cannot afford to wait until the fourth semester because that would give them only one year of major status and they would be unlikely to get into all the courses they would need. These students should strive to accelerate their semester standing by the end of the first year, so that they can declare the major a semester early. Accelerating semester standing for purposes of declaring one’s major early can be done quite comfortably with a combination of pre-matriculant and summer credits.
For example, a first-year student who earns 8.00 credits by the end of the spring semester and then earns 2.00 credits during Wesleyan summer session (10.00 credits total) will have enough credit to accelerate to the minimum pace for the third semester before the beginning of the sophomore year and can declare the major after drop/add in the Fall.