How to Graduate Early from High School in Texas?

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Imagine being able to graduate early and get a head start on your career or your education.  What would you do with the time?  If you are in need of early graduation programs in Texas, look no further.

We will help you understand how to graduate high school within three years and what the requirements are to graduate high school early.  There are a number of reasons why students may choose to graduate early; regardless of the reason, we want students to know they have options.

Keep reading to find the information you need regarding graduating in Texas and what you need for early high school graduation.

Can You Graduate High School Early in Texas?Can You Graduate High School Early in Texas?

The short answer to this question is yes; you absolutely can graduate early from high school as a student in Texas.  They even had tracks that would help you do so.  There were four different tracks that students could take advantage of within Texas.  These include foundation, the recommended or traditional tack, a minimum option, and even an advanced option.

These four tracks have been consolidated down to one default track.  That is the Foundation track. From there, the foundation track can be tailored to your needs to ensure that it fits you.

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in Texas?

How Many Credits Do You Need to Graduate High School in Texas?

To graduate in Texas, you need to meet the stipulations set forth by Texas’s Foundation High school Program.  This is now the only track available to students.  This change was implemented beginning with the 2014 school year and is required subsequently.  Under this new single-track model, students are required to obtain 22 credit hours.  This stipulation, however, still includes:

  • Three math credits
  • Two world language credits or computer science credits
  • Three social studies credits
  • Three science credits
  • Four English credits
  • One fine arts credit and one physical education credit
  • Five elective credits
  • Proficiency in speech

Texas state schools also support the achievement of Endorsements.  You may wonder what an endorsement is; however, it is much like a “major” that students can choose to match their interests.  Currently, there are five endorsement categories that a student may choose. These endorsement areas include:

  • Public Service
    • Human Services
    • Health Science
    • Law
    • Corrections & Security
    • Education & Training
    • Government & Public Administration
    • JROTCE ( Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps)
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Computer Science
    • Career & Technical Courses
  • Multi-Disciplinary
    • Four courses in other endorsement areas
    • Four credits in each foundation subject area (i.e., chemistry or physics)
    • Four credits in AP courses, international baccalaureate, or dual credit options
  • Arts & Humanities
    • 2 Levels in a world language
    • Four levels in the same world language
    • Course from 2 different areas in fine arts
    • English Electives
    • Social Studies
    • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Business and Industry
    • Agriculture
    • Audio/Video
    • Marketing
    • Finance
    • Arts
    • Manufacturing
    • Hospitality & Tourism
    • Information Technology
    • Technology applications
    • Food & Natural Resources
    • Architecture & Construction
    • Business Management & Administration
    • Transportation
    • Distribution & Logistics
    • Technology & Communications
    • English Electives

Students are expected to select an endorsement in one of the areas mentioned above. Once this selection has been made, students will need to complete the curriculum requirements for their chosen track. This includes an additional four credit hours, which can consist of a combination of elective courses. Though there are five areas for endorsement, some schools will not offer all five areas. If this school only offers one area, it must be a multi-disciplinary option. The addition of the endorsements brings the needed credit amount to 26.

In addition to the Foundations track, a student may also look to obtain a Distinguished level of achievement. With this option, students are able to take advantage of the Top 10 percent automatic admission law. This law was created in the late 1990s and guarantees that students who have graduated within the top ten percent of their high school will obtain automatic admission into all state-funded universities.

To receive distinguished status and be eligible to take advantage of the automatic admissions law, a student must take on this additional work. This means that they must earn four credits in math with the inclusion of Algebra II; they must earn four credits in Science and the full completion of an endorsement track.

Outside of the credits needed to graduate, students will also need to complete End of Course exams. This includes five exams that are administered in English 1, English 2, Algebra I, Biology and United States History. Students must pass these exams to receive a diploma or must be approved to graduate by graduation committing depending on their number of exam failures.

There are also two non-educational requirements that students must complete. These include instruction on how to communicate with peace officers and CPR instruction between grades 7-12.

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

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

A student may graduate early; however, they must still meet the requirements to receive a diploma. A student can forgo an endorsement if provided by the school’s written consent and valid reasoning. This is something that must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Some Texas districts have also made a program available called the Early Readiness High School Graduation Option. This program allows a student to graduate early and can also work in tandem with the nearest state university.

Students are classified by grade depending on how many credits. Students may earn credits during summer school, and depending on your child’s academic performance; they may be eligible to take dual credit courses. The stipulations for credit hours are below.

  • Freshmen: To be considered at the 9th-grade level, a student must earn or have earned between 0 to 5.5.
  • Sophomore: To be considered at the 10th-grade level, a student must earn or have earned between 6.0 to 11.5.
  • Junior: To be considered at the 11th-grade level, a student must earn or have earned between 12.0 to 17.5 earned credits.
  • Senior: To be considered at the 12th-grade level, a student must earn or have earned between 18.0 or more credits earned

Students must meet with guidance counselors and school personnel as soon as they have determined that they would like to graduate early—this way, an adequate academic plan can be sculpted and followed. Students who are looking to graduate early will follow the plan of action, which corresponds to the year they entered high school.

Though a student may not meet the requirements to fully graduate early, students may have the option of having release periods during their senior year. These are periods where a class does not have to be taken, and they can be used for things like work-study. Seniors in some districts may be granted two release periods, and juniors may be eligible to obtain 1.

How to Graduate Early from High School in Texas: 3 Steps

How to Graduate Early from High School in Texas: 3 Steps

Now that you know what requirements Texas has set for their high school students, I’m sure the only thing on your mind is how to go about graduating early. Depending on your district, this may not be the most effortless process; however, it is not an impossible task to accomplish.

  • Know the requirements and do your research – It’s one thing to want to graduate early, but it’s another thing to know what it takes in-depth. For this, you should work with your school’s counselor or obtain a copy of your school’s student handbook. Though there may be some Texas-specific requirements, having the specific for your school and district is essential. With this process, you should also be researching the classes needed to graduate and how you can take them.
  • Do you want to attend college? – The college that you choose to attend my have some stipulations surrounding standards for admission. This may include certain courses and programs. You must start looking into these things early so that you can gain an understanding of if graduating early will hinder or help you.
  • Create a plan – Last but not least, after you have done the research and had the meetings, you will need to create a plan of execution. This plan should include information on when some classes can and will be taken and if your school will accept the credit. You should also have contingency plans in place. This may include backups for certain classes or backups to where you may take certain courses just in case things change for the institution. If you have a good plan, you will likely be celebrating earlier than the rest of your peers and using this time to get a jumpstart on life.

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

The process of graduating early may not be an easy one, but it is not impossible. All Texas students must take the foundational track. Therefore you must do your research and meet with staff to ensure that you can tailor this program to fit your specific needs.

Graduating early isn’t for everyone, so do not feel like you need to rush through. If it seems better to stay in school, do just that or whatever is right for you. As an alternative to early graduation, some schools have release periods that will give students a break throughout the day and allow them to pursue other things.

No matter when you decide to graduate, happy graduation!

Professor Conquer
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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