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Graduation rates: What the students are saying

Sarah Jesperson, 21, Edina, Minn.

College: Concordia 

Major: Elementary education

Job: 15-20 hours per week


Time to graduate: 4 years

Why: “Your advisers are really good at trying to get you to graduate in four years.”

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do the second I came to campus.”

Fernando Bales, 22, Monticello, Minn.

College: NDSU

Major: Architecture

Job: 20-25 hours per week


Time to graduate: 5 years

Why: Architecture program takes five years to complete

“It’s demanding. To keep up, you have to sacrifice a lot of things.”

Cody Salo, 23, New York Mills, Minn.

College: Concordia 

Major: Physical education and health education

Time to graduate: 4½ years

Why: Transferred from Bemidji State, where he was an industrial tech major.



Amber Olds, 22, Moorhead

College: MSUM

Major: English and mass com­munications

Job: 20-35 hours per week

Time to graduate: 4 years

Why: Credits her adviser with keeping her on track to graduate.


“I’m sick of school, but I’m afraid of what comes after.”

Ashley Horton, 22, Wadena, Minn.

College: MSUM 

Major: Biology

Job: 20-30 hours per week

Time to graduate: 4 years

Why: Switched majors from psychology to English to biology, but she still finished on time because she took one year of college classes in high school and took summer school.



Thomas Lucht, 25, Jamestown, N.D.

College: MSUM

Major: Geology

Job: 40 hours per week

Time to graduate: 7 years

Why: He changed his major from anthropology to archeology to geology. He also went to school part time when his girlfriend was pregnant with their 2-year-old daughter.

“It took me longer to figure out my major. It took a few different tries to figure out what I was suited for.”



Casey Kramer, 23, Grand Forks

College: NDSU

Major: Dietetics

Job: 20-40 hours per week

Time to graduate: 5½ years

Why: Transferred to NDSU after attending an Iowa community college and the University of Nebraska for one semester each. He retook several classes because they didn’t transfer. He also changed majors from pre-pharmacy to industrial engineering to exercise science and then dietetics.


Paul Reopelle, 24, Dickinson, N.D.

College: MSUM 

Major: History

Job: 30 hours per week

Time to graduate: 6 years

Why: Took one year off for personal reasons, including a death in the family.


Jared Herman, 22, Bismarck

College: NDSU

Major: Marketing

Job: Worked freshman, sophomore years

Time to graduate: 4 years

Why: Transferred to NDSU from Bismarck State College, and all courses transferred. He switched majors from management to marketing, but the two majors have similar requirements.



Megan Haney, 21, Herman, Minn.

College: NDSU

Major: Apparel and textiles/ retail mer­chan­dising

Job: 30-40 hours per week

Time to graduate: 3 years

Why: Took dual-credit courses her final two years of high school.

“Take the advantages in high school when you can. Push yourself, and take them in high school if you can.”


Jerry Geraets, 28, Dell Rapids, S.D.

College: NDSU

Major: Philosophy and humanities

Time to graduate: 4 years

Why: He was a freshman at 24 and knew that he wanted to earn a philosophy degree before attending seminary.

"Basically, I didn’t flip-flop majors.”


Michael Lagobey, 37, Sudan

College: MSCTC

Major: Human resources

Job/family: Worked full time at Fargo Assembly until he was laid off. He has a wife, also in college, and two kids, ages 6 years and 18 months.

Time to graduate: 2½ years

Why: He needed some noncredit courses, including English language courses, that added an extra semester.


Scott Schroeder, 28, Fargo

College: MSCTC

Major: Construction electricity

Job: 20 hours per week

Time to graduate: 2 years

Why: Program is structured.


Kayla Christensen, 21, Elbow Lake, Minn.

College: MSCTC

Major: Sales marketing management 

Job: 40 hours per week

Time to graduate:1½ years

Why: She finished this degree in three semesters, but earlier attended MSCTC for generals and then left to get a cosmetology degree.

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