|Computer science major Albert Chang, '16 graduated in three years.|
San Diego, Calif., Jan. 13, 2017 -- Earning a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego in just three years may seem like a daunting feat, but recent alumni such as Siyi Ye, Brianna Lonquich and Albert Chang did so despite having either double or capped majors and studying abroad.
Why do some alumni attempt to graduate early? UC San Diego is a top 10 public university and recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious research campuses—so it’s already a rigorous academic experience for students who graduate in four years.
Camputer science major Albert Chang, ’16, now works in Silicon Valley as a software engineer for Uber. He took several AP classes in high school and completed courses at a junior college which, coupled with what he calls “laser focus” on academics and passion for his major, allowed him to graduate early.
Friends and an academic support system were critical to Chang’s success in graduating in three years–something he wanted to achieve from the beginning of his freshman year.
“The cost of an extra year’s tuition and living costs versus the salary that I could be receiving was large. I was also able to take most of the classes and have most of the experiences that I had wanted in college within three years.”
“I met a couple of inseparable friends and formed some lifelong bonds with some of the people that I’ve worked with at UC San Diego,” he also said.
He added that graduating early presented him the opportunity to have a greater work-life balance. “You’re able to escape the stress of homework and midterms sooner,” he said. “Technology companies adopt loose work schedules so you get to take over more control of your lifestyle, giving you the choice to make what you want out of it.”
For Ye, ’16, who double majored in visual arts and linguistics, it was about saving time and money. “It also gave me the opportunity to take a year off after graduation to explore what I wanted to do in the real world.”
A marketing specialist for an international printing company, Ye said she found her home at Sixth College and drew inspiration from its theme of Culture, Art and Technology. Originally from China, she is the first in her family to attend college and the first to study in the United States. She was able to graduate early with a double major by taking 16 to18 units each quarter, plus enrolling in summer session courses. She earned several Advanced Placement (AP) credits in high school prior to attending UC San Diego.
Ye said the support she received from First-Generation Student Link, a program for Sixth College students who are the first in their family to attend college, was key to her success at UC San Diego. In addition to managing a heavy course load, she worked part time at the college as a student affairs intern.
“I found the work rewarding when I helped college students achieve their academic goals in the rigorous environment while maintaining a meaningful social life,” Ye said.
|Brianna Lonquich, '16|
Brianna Lonquich, ’16, says having the opportunity to graduate from UC San Diego in three years came as an unexpected surprise. The biology major took several courses at a community college while attending high school in Valencia, Calif. She first learned she could graduate early after applying to study abroad in Costa Rica and viewing the number of credits she had amassed.
Lonquich also held a part-time job while attending UC San Diego, which helped jumpstart her career. She began volunteering in a lab at the campus’s Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, then became a student worker there during her second year. Today, she is a lab manager at the consortium.
“I was extremely fortunate in my choice of lab because my volunteer time provided me with enough skills to be useful and engaged in the lab,” she said. “It was luck that a position as a new lab manager opened up when I had graduated.”
She said studying abroad in Costa Rica for a quarter was a highlight of her undergraduate years at UC San Diego, but the friends she made on campus made an even bigger impression. “My best memories are with the girls I met freshman year in the dorm,” said Lonquich, who also attended Sixth College. “We had endless laughs and adventures around San Diego, from impromptu beach days to pumpkin picking in Del Mar. The friends I made here are the best!”
|Siyi Ye, '16|
Another Sixth College alumnus who graduated a year early
For students interested in graduating early, Ye, Lonquich and Chang have the following tips:
For more information on timely degree completion, click here.