Book Review: College in Three Years

College in Three Years:Stop Wasting Time and Money

By John C. Attig
Paperback – 138 pages; Writers Club Press

Author John Attig wastes no time in getting to his point. His opening paragraph tells the tale:

Students and their families waste too much money and time on a college education today. It is the purpose of this book to suggest ways of correcting this situation. My overall solution is to complete college in three years and to reduce the amount of time spent in high school by at least one semester and perhaps more.

“Easier said than done,” I thought to myself. Then I looked deeper into Attig’s premise. The 10 chapters and five appendixes cover a broad range of questions and considerations:

  • The College Financial Situation
  • Why Four Years of College?F
  • Financing a College Education in the Usual Way
  • The Surprising Costs of A College Education
  • Using Your High School Time to Save Money in the College Years
  • Using High School Resources to Graduate Early from Both High School and College
  • Using Community Colleges to Save Money and Time
  • How to Reduce Expenses When You Are Enrolled in the College of Your Choice
  • How Will Just Three Years of College Affect Paying College Bills and Receiving Financial Aid?
  • Conclusion: Your Accomplishments and Some Real Opportunity Gains after College in Three Years


  • Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
  • College-Level Examination program (CLEP)
  • Colleges Where Financial Aid Equals 100% of Student Need
  • Suggested Pland for Early High School Graduation
  • The True Costs of a College Education Not Completed in 3 Years

Attig’s arguments seem to be persuasive. However, the casual observer should stand warned. Compressing a four-year college degree into three years can extract a price in motivation and circumstantial management. Some of Attig’s plans and prescriptions are highly dependent on interwoven threads of course availability and financial acumen. The author caveats his sometimes overtly optimistic scenarios of cost cutting and timetable structuring with such cautions as “You will be fortunate if you are able to choose from among all of the options above.” Obviously, not having the majority of options available will work against the three-year ideal. However, the advantage comes from having these options detailed and put together in a central context, inspiring some out-of-the box thinking and planning for the truly motivated student.

In a nutshell, College in Three Years‘ task is well summarized by the back-cover text that states, in part, that the book shows how one can use organizational skills and a student’s brainpower to save money and time. Students may take advantage of Advanced Placement, College-Level Exams, and other tests to earn credits without taking college courses. One can use the Internet, correspondence courses, and community college courses to acquire credits even before one begins one’s freshman year in college. Instead of part-time employment that reduces financial aid, the book recommends taking extra courses and summer school to accelerate the process of education.

Bottom line from this corner: College in Three Years is for a certain kind of highly organized, highly motivated student, someone who is not easily discouraged by circumstantial roadblocks. In today’s extended-college-time environment (most so-called “four-year” degree programs are taking five-to-six years, for various reasons), the message Attig brings forth is encouraging, if not challenging.

Read more about College in Three Years at Amazon