Greetings, New Jerseyite! If you are reading this article, it’s because you’ve come through a length Google search on how to graduate early from high school.
We understand. We get it. High school is tough, with the puberty and hormones to deal with, the larger student body to interact with, and the drastically more difficult subjects to take. You are done with secondary education and want to get to post-secondary education or a good job! You want to get out as soon as possible.
How exactly do you graduate early from high school in the state of New Jersey? We are here to give you a few facts, a rough overview, and, finally, instruct you on how to graduate early!
Can You Graduate High School Early in New Jersey?
New Jersey does not have any state / federal legislature on graduating high school early. Your chances of getting out of high school before your senior year will depend on the specific high school you graduate from.
In general, the New Jersey Board of Education will give a New Jersey state-issued high school diploma to any student that has met the state and local requirements for high school graduation. There is no law as to how old you have to be to meet those requirements. You could, in theory, graduate as early as your first year. Once you have that diploma, you don’t ever have to look back!
But that is getting a bit too hopeful, does it? Why, if anyone could graduate from high school that early, why would anyone need high school? Instead of asking, “can I graduate early from high school?” you should be asking, “how can I graduate early from high school?” That question is more fulfilling but also more complicated…
Just How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in New Jersey?
Graduating from high school in New Jersey is not very different from graduating from high school in any other state in the United States. You need a set number of credits in each required subject to pass.
There are the required credits needed to graduate from high school:
- 20 credits in language arts literacy,
- 15 credits in math,
- 15 credits in science,
- 15 credits in social studies,
- 2.5 credits in financial, economic, business, and entrepreneurial literacy,
- 3.75 credits per year on health, safety, and physical education,
- Five credits in visual and performing arts,
- Five credits in career-technical education (law, media, agriculture, law, etc.),
- Five credits in world languages (i.e., Spanish, French, Japanese, etc.).
These subjects include a mix of core classes (i.e., they are required) and several electives (i.e., classes you as a student can choose). Quite a robust set of subjects and qualifications if I do say so myself.
Thankfully, your GPA does not matter in graduating high school, though it would be advantageous to have a good one if you aim for an early entrance into college.
To graduate early from high school, you would need a New Jersey stated issued high school diploma. You could graduate in another state, but that would require moving or a long commute, and you may have to restart some aspects of high school before you can get through it again.
In total, a New Jersey high school student has to earn 120 credits to graduate. From freshman to senior year, you would take one class of each core class followed by some electives in your later years. This is easily manageable if you want to coast through high school over the four years. But what if you want to graduate early?
The Benefits (& Problems) With Graduating High School Early
Why would you want to graduate high school early to begin with? You would have to take up a full four years of schoolwork and homework in a shorter amount of time. Your schedule will become more congested and busier, and you’ll wake up to nightmares of chimera hybrids of Calculus, English Composition, and the free market.
The most apparent benefit of graduating early from high school is that you can earn your diploma while you’re still fit and fresh from going through school. Many students take a year off after graduating, at the risk of being behind. If you graduate early, you can take a year off and still meet your peers on the same level.
If you are particularly looking for a way to enter college early, graduating early from high school isn’t strictly the only path. Some schools offer dual enrollment, in which you take college-level courses while you are still attending high school. Sometimes the college credits double as high school credits and could get you out of high school early, though this is not guaranteed.
I want to note that graduating high school isn’t the only way to earn a pathway to college and low-level employment. Students or adults who have for whatever reason dropped out of high school can instead take a General Educational Development test and earn their GED, which gives them the equivalent. We do not recommend this for students, as they should make the most out of their time in high school, but if for whatever personal reason you cannot see yourself completing high school, getting a GED is always an option!
There are some downsides, too, however. You will have to take up more school and homework at once—likely not of the same class, but from several different courses. You also have less time to hang out with your friends or free time elsewhere. It may still take you years to finish high school, even if it is as little as two.
Having said all of this, assuming your resolve is steeled, how do you graduate from high school early in New Jersey?
How to Graduate Early from High School?
Now that we know that if, how, and if we should graduate early from high school, let us listen steps do you need to take to ensure that you walk away in a hat and robe, clutching your diploma as you walk down the halls.
First, you would have to negotiate with your teachers, your guidance counselor, and your principal and vice principal about the possibility of taking a more extensive workload of classes within your schedule. Be warned that your counselor may not allow you to graduate early, to begin with! In some schools, early graduation is a move that will go as high up as the school’s administration.
You would want to get a good look at your schedule and classes. Pick a schedule that will get you the absolute bare minimum number of credits on time.
Be prepared to take an additional workload and spend extra hours studying. Unfortunately, trying to graduate early won’t make classes any easier: if anything, they become more difficult and stressful.
We recommend getting the core classes (namely, Math, Science, English, and Social Studies) out of the way first, with some electives simultaneously. English and Math most often require a full four years to gain every credit (using the above list of credits for New Jersey schools, your time will largely be put into language arts and other English classes). If you play your cards right, you might end your shortened high school years with a semester of fun electives, like physical education.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Graduate Early from High School in New Jersey
Ambitious students must do quite a lot if they want to graduate early. You must take on a larger than average workload, study your butt off, and sacrifice your social life as a high school student. But if you really want to graduate, if you’re going to kickstart your life as an educated adult and move on to better things, then this article is the perfect guide for you to graduate from high school early, New Jersey student!
If you are interested to know how to graduate early in other states, check out our other guides here: