It took me 7 years instead of the 4 to get bachelor's. I have no excuse other than I slacked off and skipped class/played video games. How to explain if an interviewer asks me why it took me so long?

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    Most companies won't ask you why it takes so long for you to graduate. They only care if you have good technical knowledge, skills, and experiences for the jobs. (But, just in case they ask, you can tell them 99% of your real plan is to become a professional online video/computer game player. Note: top professional online computer game players can easily earn hundreds of thousands dollars per year. Just google to find out :-) ). – Job_September_2020 May 19 at 6:31
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    Why was this question reopened? The answers on the older questions are virtually the same, regardless if we're speaking about PhDs, MAs or BAs. – Mari-Lou A May 19 at 12:06
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    @MaxD I merged your question with this one, no real difference between the two. – Kilisi May 19 at 13:09
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    @Mari-LouA At least where I live, PhDs are often paid positions while Bachelors and Masters never are, so that would make quite a big difference. – MaxD May 19 at 13:13

If they don't bring it up, say nothing.

If they do bring it up, say that personal circumstances required you to take more time than is typically necessary to finish your degree. Don't elaborate. Most employers won't dig further into it than that.

It's kind of a tough one to reliably spin into a positive light, so I'd suggest trying not to go into it.


I likewise took unusually long to finish my bachelors (6 years) and nobody, nobody, has ever asked why. Your transcript may reflect your "slacking off", which, combined with your graduation time, may prompt the question. My recommendation is to always tell the truth. If I were in your shoes my response would be along the lines of "Honestly, I didn't take my studies seriously when I started college. I was immature, and was not as devoted to studying as I should have been. I paid the price for this, and boy did I learn my lesson."

Remember, telling the truth does not mean you give all the gory details.

  • And the odds of anyone actually asking you that are virtually zero. – Mike Robinson May 19 at 14:15
  • @MikeRobinson Exactly. I finished my bachelors almost 20 years ago now and, as I said in my answer, nobody has ever asked. I don't think the OP has to worry about this. – tnknepp May 19 at 14:20
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    Just wanna note that not being asked for 20 years doesn't say much more than not being asked for 2 years. After you got some job experience under your belt, the focus naturally shifts on that and away from your education. – MaxD May 20 at 2:07

In case they ask about it, I think you could use my answer given in How to explain above average PhD time in a job interview. Use the long time it took you to finish college as an argument for your grit, determination and perseverance.

  • Except the OP has admitted they don't have those qualities. It would be better to gloss over the reason than lie about it. – ColleenV May 19 at 13:09

If they really ask be honest with it. No need to elaborate but explain the lac of interest in a certain subject and interest in others it's a great opportunity to show your identity and what people should expect from you. Also show maturity and honesty from your side.

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