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pros & cons of the three-year degree

three years can be a very long, or very short amount of time

Depending on how you look at it. I did a three-year degree that ended up being a 4-year because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Everyone approaches things differently, so here are the pros and cons of doing a three-year degree…



It all hangs in the first year

All it takes is two Semesters of assignments, classes and awkward group projects to figure out whether you hate it or not. Sure, with degrees like Arts you can swap and change subjects all the time until you figure out what works best for you, but if you jumped two-feet-first in to Fine Arts or Education, hoooo-boy, you gotta work some things out before it’s too late. Luckily, in your first year you’re likely to put in a fair bit of effort, and that’s good in this scenario because you’ll be focussing on how you feel about the subjects you’re taking. If you’re not feeling it, that’s totally fine, at least you figured it out early, right?




Three years goes quickly

And I’m not sure if that’s a pro or a con. If you know what you want to do with your life then it’s 100% a pro, but if you’re like most first-year uni students, you probably have no idea what you’re eating for dinner let alone what career you want for the rest of your life. Then all of the sudden a three-year degree feels like a very fast ticking clock. In high school you didn’t have to decide what you wanted to be until you grew up, but now you’re up and you’re still not sure. If you don’t like your courses by the end of your first year it’s probably time to look at the ol’ Course Guide.





You’re still young when you graduate

Definitely a pro! Probably the biggest. While you might feel you’ve got a bit of living left to do before you settle in to full-time work, it’s a good feeling to know you’re 22 and already qualified to start a career. And hey, you may want to take a break between the degree and full-blown adulthood and travel the world, who’s stopping you? You’ve got no worries, because you’ve already got a shiny degree under your belt.




You might graduate before all of your friends

Take it from someone who is working full-time while my friends still spend 70% of their time at the beach or in a cafe – it’s not fun. Majority of my friends still study, or aren’t quite in full-time work mode just yet, which means our timetables are completely out of sync. If their social life falls outside of the 9am-5pm work hours then that’s great, but in all likelihood it doesn’t and your only chance to hang out is on the weekend when they’re working. So have fun watching your group chat blow up about coffee dates and weekday brunches, you’re a full-timer now.




Your hard work pays off faster

Self-explanatory, but a shorter degree generally means faster rewards for your hard work. Sure, Medicine and Law students study for more years than you, but you’re finishing earlier and getting the congrats and the graduation gown sooner! A lot of us want to graduate sooner because the idea of studying right after our HSC is an exhausting thought. A three-year degree means it’s over and done with and you can get started on living the life you want to live.




Don’t worry, you’ve got time to decide what you want to do. Even if it takes more than one degree to figure it out, everyone settles on a career path eventually. Just take your time and pay attention to how you feel about your courses.


Good luck!


About the Author


Amy is the Content & Social Media Specialist with Campus Living Villages. She lived at UNSW Village for 4 years, so she knows a thing or two about moving out of home and starting life on-campus!