Why Staying a Fifth Year Isn't the End of the World

Are you struggling to complete everything you put your mind to when starting UCSB? Did you switch majors four times and fall behind in your requirements? Did you find out that you wanted to get a certificate during the spring of your third year? Are you dreading the thought of staying a fifth year to get it all done? There’s a stigma associated with pursuing a fifth year that steers a lot of people away but that shouldn’t be the case.

There are a lot of factors that go into deciding to stay a fifth year like tuition fees and the fact that most of the people you probably spent time with will graduate before you BUT there are actually a lot of pros to staying a fifth year:

  1. 1. Time to Get to Know Yourself Better 

    Because most people jumped in headfirst to meet friends and make the most of their time here, many people don’t truly get to know themselves to the extent that they probably should. Of course, living away from home and immersing yourself in this new lifestyle is eye-opening in itself, but because many get involved in different organizations, work, and take classes, time flies by. Taking some time to focus on yourself and your goals could be extremely beneficial and an extra year is a great way to do it. Having extra time to relax by the beach and soak in this beautiful Santa Barbara weather could be cleansing for the mind and soul.

  2. 2. Less of a Need to Cram in Units

    In addition to getting to know yourself better, elongating your time at a university could mean spreading your units out a bit more. Instead of taking 18-21 units you could manage your time a bit more and take less units. This could give you time to pursue other organizations, jobs, or hobbies that you might be interested in learning more about.

  3. 3. More Time to Pursue Other Opportunities

    When we first get to UCSB it seems like there isn’t enough time for everything. Many say college is the time to reinvent yourself and get involved, but a rigorous workload can make it really difficult. By shrinking your unit load, you could finally join that club you’ve been interested in or intern for that prestigious company. A lot of internships require you to be a student and so, it's harder to get those opportunities when we graduate. Staying an extra year gives you another summer and school year to pursue an internship or job opportunity you typically wouldn’t. We also happen to go to a research institution so extra time also means more opportunities to pursue research with admirable professors.

  4. 4. More Classes and Making Up Grades 

    In addition to having more time to pursue extracurricular activities, staying another year means a whole other year of taking classes that you might’ve been unable to with a more rigorous schedule. Of course, those who pursue a fifth year might pursue one for different reasons, like having a lot of classes for major requirements. But if the scheduling doesn’t seem too overbearing, it might be beneficial to take classes you’re interested in/never would’ve expected to take.

    This is also an opportunity to retake classes that you might’ve not done your best in. If you’re planning to continue your education after UCSB and need a certain GPA, this could be the time to try and fix it. This could also be an opportunity to add a minor or certificate.

  5. 5. Financial Aid 

    Many don’t qualify for financial aid, but those who do may feel they have to finish everything in four years because a fifth year wouldn’t be covered. But that actually isn’t true. A fifth year is most definitely still covered the same way the past four years were.

Essentially, everyone works at their own pace and there shouldn’t be any rush to finish by a certain time. Sure it’s called a four year university but did you know that a huge majority of university students actually don't graduate within four years? There’s no shame or issue with staying another year and in some cases it might even be the better choice. You could even share your experiences with other prospective fifth years and possibly relate on levels you didn’t even realize. Your intended career is still within reach and even if you’re unsure of what you want to do after graduation, staying an extra year could definitely help you figure it out.

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