A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

How Does it Work?

First, some history.

Since 2005, at least 95 Houghton students have completed their degrees in less than eight semesters (the traditional number of semesters that comprise a four-year experience). Of that 95, nearly 25% had a second major. Furthermore, while the average amount of credit the students brought in to Houghton was 20 credit hours (over one full semester’s worth), 20 students started at Houghton without any transfer credit whatsoever. In other words, Houghton already has a history of working with motivated students, regardless of how much college credit they bring in, who want to finish in less than eight semesters. This can be attributed to our top-notch academic records office and the personalized course advising process at Houghton.

Now, the nuts and bolts.

It all starts with a very important number: 124. Memorize this number; write it on your hand if you have to (non-permanent marker is best). This is the number of credit hours required for a student to complete graduation requirements (except for students pursuing the Bachelor of Music degree). Within the 124 credit hours, there are almost as many scenarios to accomplish the goal of shaving off a semester or two at Houghton.

One of the ways to go about doing this is to take advantage of opportunities to earn college credit while still in high school. For some of you, this might be as simple as a trip down to your guidance office to sign up for A.P. or college courses offered at your school. For others, you might be looking at taking CLEP exams or taking college coursework over the summer. Either way, if you plan strategically, you can take courses in high school that will transfer as credit to Houghton in order to start chipping away at your degree requirement and those 124 hours you need to graduate.

Already a senior and haven’t taken any college coursework?

There’s still hope for you if you want to try to finish in less than four years. This is going to depend on careful planning on your end, the work ethic to handle a full or nearly full course load each semester, and which major you are pursuing.

As a disclaimer, if you seek to finish a Houghton degree in less than four years, it is going to depend on a variety of factors and the most important one is you.

Here’s a framework for you to keep in mind.

  1. Plan ahead with your guidance counselor if you are still in high school.
  2. Get in touch with the three-year option advisor at Houghton.
  3. Get to know the degree requirements of the major you want to pursue.
  4. Get to know the Integrative Studies requirements (and competencies).
  5. While at Houghton, meet with your advisor regularly and the academic three-year advisor in the Academic records office.
  6. Make use of your college breaks to take additional credit at Houghton or elsewhere.
  7. Buckle up.

It is important to know that this is not a guarantee, as there are some “ifs” that depend on factors such as course availability. However, you can be assured that you will be helped through the process by experienced Houghton faculty and staff.