Three Years Right for Me

Is a three year or accelerated program right for me?

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Of course your Messiah College education is much richer than simply earning credits towards a degree. Your years at Messiah will be filled with life-changing learning and relationships that will open up amazing possibilities and help you see your life and the world in a whole new way. So while graduating early can certainly save you time and money, it's also important to explore upfront whether or not this option is right for you, is viable for your major, and will best serve your personal education and career goals.

For instance, here are some key questions to consider:

  • Are you entering Messiah knowing which specific major you want to pursue? If you wish to graduate early, it is essential to connect with your academic advisor as soon as you arrive at Messiah to develop an individual game plan. If you do not know which major you want to pursue early on, it will be more difficult (but not necessarily impossible) to determine an effective plan for early graduation.

  • Does your major lend itself to an accelerated degree opportunity? There are certain majors that lend themselves more readily to opportunity for graduating early-majors in the humanities, business, and the social sciences for example. Equally, there are majors that are not conducive to accelerated graduation due to their rigorous clinical, lab, practicum, or student teaching requirements-for example majors such as nursing, engineering, and education programs designed for teacher certification. To determine if your course of study has potential for an accelerated path, speak with your academic advisor when you arrive at Messiah, or prior to that time, contact Jim Sotherden, College Registrar (717.691.6074 or or Erin Boyd-Soisson, Director of Academic Advising (717.766.2511, ext. 2254 or  

  • Are you a motivated student with the academic capacity to pursue a rigorous accelerated degree path?  Typically, working toward the goal of graduating early requires you to plan early and focus-often taking full credit capacity for the majority, or all, of your semesters at Messiah. It can also involve summer online coursework. Messiah provides all of its students with a challenging, academically excellent education, and taking a full credit load every semester (and possibly during the summer) is not the right path for everyone. You need to determine if your academic track record and personal learning style will be conducive to this goal.

  • Will your extra-curricular commitments enable you to take a full credit load each semester? In addition to learning that takes place in a classroom setting, Messiah invites you to choose from a variety of extracurricular interests including intercollegiate and intramural athletics; theater, music, dance, and other performance ensembles; student-run media such as Messiah's newspaper, radio station and yearbook; ministry and service groups; and just about every student club or organization that you can possibly think of! With all of these options to get involved at Messiah, you'll need to decide if your interests and commitments outside of the classroom will facilitate your taking a full academic credit load for all, or the majority, of your semesters at Messiah College.

  • Are you willing to take courses during the summer months? As shown in some of our summary examples, accumulating credit through online courses during Messiah's summer session may be necessary (although not in every situation) to meet your goal for early graduation. It's important to consider in advance if this is something that you are willing or able to do if necessary to meet your goals.

For more information:

If you have questions or would like more information about pursuing an accelerated graduation opportunity, please contact Jim Sotherden, College Registrar (717.691.6074 or or Erin Boyd-Soisson, Director of Academic Advising (717.766.2511, ext. 2254 or

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