Is graduating in 4 years a myth?

By Andy Foreman & Dennis Erturk

Every Cal Poly Pomona student knows how stressful the registration period is. 

You’ve talked to your advisor, you’ve selected your classes that fit with your schedule, and everything is in your shopping cart ready to go. Your registration period might begin at five in the morning, or it could start during your shift at work. Regardless, BroncoDirect has the uncanny ability to make registration appointments at the most inconvenient times possible. 

But that doesn’t matter now. You’ve got your laptop or phone ready to go, everything is selected as the minutes tick down until registration begins. 

As soon as the clock hits that designated time, you click “enroll” as fast as you can! 

As your device loads the new webpage, you tell yourself if there were ever a time when you needed your Wi-Fi to be as fast as possible, this is it. 

Then the new page loads, and your heart sinks as you see those infuriating yellow triangles, telling you that your schedule for the next semester is more than likely ruined. 

Now, you must e-mail the professor quickly for an add code or find new classes, which are inevitably going to be at either eight in the morning or eight at night. 

As CPP students, the least of our problems are our actual classes – it is getting our classes. 

That is the hardest part of the CPP experience. Between getting into classes and finding a parking spot, it almost seems that CPP is going out of its way to make sure that we are here as long as possible. With tuition at $3,000 a semester (plus books, parking passes, etc.), do we really have to wonder why? 

According to College Factual, only 15% of first-time, full-time students at CPP graduated in four years, compared to the nationwide average of 33.3%.

The percentage of first-time, full-time CPP students who graduated in six years stood at 62.9%, compared to the nationwide average of 46.2%.

Perhaps the most shocking discovery is that a higher number of first-time, full-time students at CPP (71.1%) graduated in eight years.

It is also worth noting that the school website listed the two-year graduation rate for transfer students at a mere 32.3%. 

In the same report, CPP’s data on graduation rates showed the four-year graduation rate for transfer students to be at 80%.

The Office of Student Success website lists its campuswide goals as follows: 

“1) to use data dashboards to identify students who are closest to graduation and provide additional support 

2) provide additional funding to open bottleneck courses 

3) use degree audits and analytic tools to align class schedule with student demand

4) address and reduce the number of courses with high failure rates with redesign 

5) execute targeted interventions to students who are at risk of derailing their paths to graduation

6) expand support for student programs aimed at eliminating the equity gaps.”

Sadly, it appears that even for CPP’s full-time students, the goal of graduating in four years is becoming more and more unreachable. This isn’t even factoring in other life variables like work or family commitments that students must plan their course schedules around.

The lack of available class sections does not help the situation students face when they need to balance both school and life. 

Even if a student dedicated his or her full attention and time (and realistically, who’s able to do that?) to finishing school in four years, the current state of CPP’s registration and availability of classes is making that more and more difficult. 

If you are a CPP student who is stressed about how long you are going to be here, please don’t feel like you are alone. 

We’re all in the same boat, and even if it feels like you are falling behind, just know that everyone else is staring at those yellow triangles on BroncoDirect too. 

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