How to Graduate Early from High School in New York

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Wanting to graduate early from high school is not such a crazy idea, and it is not unattainable. On the contrary, numerous students have been striving to graduate early from high school in the past couple of years for multiple reasons.

Some students want to find a job and start working; others want a head start in college or university. Others want to take a gap year and still be in step with their other classmates when they enter college.

However, early graduation in New York can be a little lengthy and complicated but ultimately achievable. Here, we will tell you all you need to know about the requirements and the steps you need to plan early graduation.

Can You Graduate High School Early in New York?Can You Graduate High School Early in New York?

The real question that needs to be asked is how to graduate early from high school in New York because it is feasible. All you need is to meet state requirements, and there are some alternatives offered, such as credit by examination.

The marvelous thing about New York is that high schools offer you three different types of diplomas. There is the Regents diploma, the advanced Regents diploma, and a local diploma.

These are all valid as high school diplomas, and anyone can earn the first two. Still, students have to meet specific criteria to graduate with a local diploma. Students who have lower exam scores are legible for a local certificate applicable for graduation.

So, in a gist, as long as you meet all the graduation requirements, you can definitely go for early graduation from high school. There are also several early entrance programs in New York, including Bard High School Early College and The Clarkson School.

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in New York Early?

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in New York Early?

The bare minimum number of credits for high school subjected across the whole state of New York is a minimum of 44 credits. These are broken down according to the subjects. Put in mind, these are the credit requirements for obtaining a Regents, Advanced Regents, and local diploma:

  • 8 in English Language Arts (ELA)
  • 8 in Social Studies: Global History, U.S. History, Participation in Government, and Economics
  • 6 in science (including labs): Life Science, Physical Science, and Additional Life (or Physical Science)
  • 4 in Physical Education: consistently throughout the whole duration of high school
  • 2 in Arts: Physical Art, Music, Dance, and/or Theatre
  • 2 in Foreign Languages: Language Other Than English (LOTE) but be aware that advanced Regents diploma requires 6 credits in LOTE while the Regents requires 2 credits
  • 1 in Health
  • 7 in Electives: 7 credits in electives are required for local and Regents diplomas, while only 3 are necessary for an advanced Regents diploma

So, answer how many credits do you need to graduate high school in New York? You need a total of 44 credits during your high school years. Even though the required credits are the same for Regents and Advanced Regents diplomas, they split it slightly differently.

What are the Requirements to Graduate Early from High School in New York?

What are the Requirements to Graduate Early from High School in New York?

New York state high school graduation requirements are pretty straightforward. All of the essentials are related to your academic career. There has been no mention of a provision about a minimum age. That means you can even graduate early from high school at the age of 15 if you work hard enough.

For early high school graduation in New York, let us break down all the requirements for you:

Minimum Credit Requirement

The minimum credit requirement for graduation in New York is 44 credits across multiple different subjects.


You can even earn diploma endorsements by talking to your guidance counselor. Endorsements are basically recognitions that validate your competence and completion of additional courses and exams. These include Arts, Seal of Biliteracy, Career Development and Occupational Studies, and Technical Education.

Exam Requirements

You must pass at least 5 different Regents exams or alternatives that are State-approved. The available subject-area requirements for exams vary by the type of diploma you are striving for.

However, let us talk about the examinations themselves. Sure, now we know the minimum requirement; we need to pass the tests to earn our diplomas. However, to know how to graduate early from high school in New York, you also need to know what grades you need to attain on your examinations.

  • Local diploma (only for eligible people): you need to pass 5 examinations with a score of 55 or higher on all of them. The subjects are ELA, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, and any additional Regents exam. LOTE is not required.
  • Regents diploma: You need to pass 5 examinations with a score of 65 or higher on all of them. These subjects include precisely the same ones as the ones required to obtain a local diploma.
  • Advanced Regents diploma: as the name states, this is an advanced diploma you can earn. They are required to pass 9 examinations. These span across different subjects, including ELA, Social Studies, 2 additional exams in Mathematics, 1 additional in Science, LOTE, and other supplementary topics. You also need to score 65 or higher on these examinations.

However, suppose you earn between 62 and 64 on one of the examinations and simply need a few extra points. In that case, you can reach the Regents diploma through an appeal, and these can be granted by your local school district. Scoring a total of 90 or higher as an average on all the examinations earns you a Regents diploma with honors.

How to Graduate Early from High School in New York: 5 Steps

How to Graduate Early from High School in New York: 5 Steps

The requirements are pretty simple, aren’t they? All you need to do now is have a plan. Every other requirement is about successfully passing the exam according to which diploma you are pursuing.

Figure Out When You Want to Graduate

Do you want to graduate a semester earlier or a whole year earlier? Put in mind that graduating only a semester earlier is more accessible and more attainable. You might need to reach out to your advisor or counselor and ask for help to figure that out.

Moreover, do not rush things and over-stress yourself by putting unrealistic expectations. Even graduating a semester earlier means you graduate in January, giving you around 8 months until colleges start. This is more than enough time to travel, work, or enjoy life.

Determine How You Will Finish the Required Credits

The good news is most high schools do not require you to complete all 44 credits in 4 years; you can finish them at your own pace. The average student completes around 11 credits per year, which means you will have to find alternative ways to meet the extra credits.

These can be in the form of online school, summer courses, or additional courses during your semester. You can also get an appeal if you have proficiency in another subject and someone can vow for you.

Figure Out College Requirements

More often than not, the subjects and courses you take in high school are not enough for the minimum college requirements, and they won’t get you into the top ones. Hence, if you are striving for higher-end colleges, do your own research accordingly.

Check the admission requirements for several colleges that have caught your interest, and determine if you need any additional courses or a list of classes you need to complete during high school.

Think About Your Courses

If you feel like it is too hectic or you have more courses that did not fit in, consider taking online courses or summer courses to graduate high school early.

You also have the option of pursuing independent study to fulfill some of the requirements for early graduation. It might be raining, but that’s when you have to consider if the effort is worth the price for you.

Set a Schedule

Bring out a piece of white paper and divide it into sections according to how many semesters you have left in high school. For instance, if you want to graduate in 3 semesters that are left, make 7 blank spaces under each column or section.

Then, fill these blanks out according to the basic minimum courses needed to graduate. Then, start adding courses you want to take or classes required by your dream university or college.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Graduate Early from High School in New York

All in all, you need to weigh the pros against the cons before you actually decide on graduating high school early in New York. Think about why this goal is desirable and whether it is logical to do for your own good and future.

After evaluating your motives, run yourself through all the steps in your plan. Are they feasible? Would it even be possible for you to graduate early from high school?

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself simply is take a step back, breathe, and do then evaluate your choices. For some, early high school graduation is the key, but there is no rush for others. So do not rush something just because you see other people doing it.

If you’re thinking about graduating early from high school, make sure to check our guides on the benefits of graduating early from high school as well as some of the disadvantages of it.

If you are interested to know how to graduate early in other states, check out our other guides here:

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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