The Hive Law

How Old Are You When You Graduate College? (The Startling Data)

How Old Are You When You Graduate College - What Age Do You Go To College - What Age Do You Start College - How Many Years Is College

How old are you when you graduate college?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • average time to start, complete, and graduate from college by degree
  • what affects how long college takes
  • how many people from your age group start and complete college
  • how likely you are to complete college

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

The Hive Law Has Been Featured In

Key Points For How Old You Are When You Graduate College

  • The average graduation age is 23.7 years old.
  • The average age to start college is about 18.5 years old.
  • The average time to complete a 4-year degree is 5.2 years.
  • 23.5% of bachelor’s degree earners take more than 4 years to finish.
  • The average college student is 26.4 years of age.
  • 24.1% of all first-time, full-time freshmen dropped out of college.
  • 15.8% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree.
  • A Professional degree is the most likely to earn over $100,000 a year.
  • Bachelor’s degrees earn 174% of high school diplomas, on average.
  • Bachelor’s degrees earn 63% of associate degrees, on average.
  • Those who take a gap year finish college 1+ years faster.
  • Older, nontraditional students finished college at faster rates.
  • 49.8% of college graduates earn a bachelor’s degree.

How Old Are You When You Graduate College?

On average, you’ll be 23.7 years old when you graduate college.

Looking at averages:

  • the average college student starts college at 18.5 years old
  • the time to complete a 4-year degree is 5.2 years of enrollment

So, on average, you’ll be 23.7 when you graduate college.

How Old Are You When You Graduate College - What Age Do You Get Out Of College - What Age Do You End College

What Age Do You Go To College?

The average age that you go to college is 18.5 years old.

  • 45.1% of 18-19-year-olds start college.
  • 49.0% of 20-21-year-olds start college.
  • 25.1% of 22-24-year-olds start college.

This does not mean that 94.1% of people start college from 18-21 years old.

Let’s say there are 100 people.

And 45.1% (45 people) who are 18-19 start college.

That leaves us with 55 people going into the 20-21-year-olds.

Then, 49% of the 20-21-year-olds start college.

That leaves us with 27 people going into the 22+ year-olds.

And then 25.1% of those 27 remaining people go to college between the ages of 22-24.

That’s why the largest average age of people starting college is 18.5 years old.

Here is a breakdown of what age people start college.

College Enrollment By Age

College Graduates by Age

Most college subtends are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.

But enrollment from older students is on the rise.

Let’s look at how many people of each age group graduate within 5 years.

  • 63.8% of college students who enroll at 18 years or younger
  • 59.9% of those who enroll at 19 years old
  • 29.4% of people who enroll at 20 – 23 years old

How Many Years Is College?

Let’s look at how many years college is by degree level.

In general, you’ll spend this amount of time getting each college degree:

  • Associate’s Degree – 2 years
  • Bachelor’s Degree – 4 years
  • Master’s Degree – 1-2 years
  • Doctoral Degree – 3-7 years
  • Professional Degree – 2-6 years

But, students graduate at different rates depending on things like:

  • are they full-time or part-time
  • the number of credits they take per semester
  • the difficulty of their degree program’s coursework (i.e., engineering vs art)
  • did they take college credits before their high school graduation
  • high school students taking transferrable college credits (some credits don’t transfer)
  • did they take general education in community college
  • how well do they adjust to the responsibility of college in their freshman year
  • do they take the course during the full school year (i.e., summer and winter classes)
  • are they taking on student loans or coming out of pocket and balancing work
How Many Years Is College - How Many Years Do You Have To Go To College - How Long Does College Last - How Many Years Are In College

How Long Does It Take To Get A Bachelor’s Degree?

On average, it takes 5.2 years to get a bachelor’s degree.

But, it can get broken out into two scenarios:

  • for-profit four-year private schools
  • non-profit four-year private schools

The average time it takes to get a bachelor’s degree is:

  • 5.8 years for four-year private for-profit institutions
  • 4.8 years for four-year private non-profit institutions

That means that you’ll spend an extra year at a for-profit university.

Let’s say that you start college at 18.5 years old.

You would be 22.5 years old when you graduate college with a bachelor’s degree.

That takes into account:

  • starting college at the average age of 18.5
  • spending 4 years on your bachelor’s degree

But, on average, you’ll spend 5.2 years on a bachelor’s degree.

So, you’d be 23.7 years old when you graduate college with a bachelor’s degree.

The real data says that it takes 4.8 – 5.8 years to complete a bachelor’s degree.

So, you’ll be 23.3 – 24.3 years old when you graduate college with an undergraduate degree.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Master’s Degree?

On average, it takes 18-24 months for graduate students to finish a Master’s Degree.

Let’s say that you start college at 18.5 years old.

You would be 24 – 24.5 years old when you graduate college with a master’s degree.

That takes into account:

  • starting college at the average age of 18.5
  • spending 4 years on your bachelor’s degree
  • spending 18 – 24 months on your master’s degree

But, on average, you’ll spend 5.2 years on a bachelor’s degree.

So, you’d be 23.7 years old when you graduate college with a bachelor’s degree.

Then we add the 18 – 24 months for a master’s degree onto that.

Which lands us at 25.2 – 25.7 years old when we graduate college with a master’s degree.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Doctoral Degree?

Each doctoral degree takes different amounts of time to complete.

Here is a list of 10 doctoral programs and their estimated time to complete.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): 4-8 years
  • Doctor of Education (EdD): 3-7 years
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): 3-7 years
  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD): 4-7 years
  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH): 2-6 years
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): 2-4 years
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM): 4-6 years
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD): 4-7 years
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT): 3-4 years
  • Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD): 4-6 years

These types of programs have higher graduation rates than undergraduate degrees.

These grads are more dedicated to their college education than a bachelor’s degree.

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

Share This Post With Someone Who Needs To See It