Pros and Cons of Graduating High School Early

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Have you been wondering what to do after graduating high school early? Are you curious about the pros and cons of graduating high school early? If you answered yes to one of these questions, then you are in the right spot.

Graduating early is most certainly an achievement that you can be proud of. Doing so means you have put in the extra time, effort, and energy to ensure that you have the credits and requirements you need to graduate before your regular intended date. In this article, we will provide you with information on not only the pros and cons of graduating early but give you insight into how teens are doing it.

We will also provide you with information on possible things you can do after graduation to ensure that you are making the most of the extra time you have. We will also help you understand how college may view your decision to graduate early. All you have to do to access all of this helpful information is keep reading.

Is It Worth Graduating Early in High School?Is It Worth Graduating Early in High School?

One question that you may be wracking your brain about is if graduating early is a necessity or if it’s worth it. This is a good question and often one that many people may neglect to ask themselves. This is not a question that has a universal answer. Agreeing to graduate early means that you are willing to do the work needed to get the credits early, as well as potentially forego some high school fun to ensure you reach your goal. This can be challenging for some. You must know yourself.

IF you are a student who takes great pride in your work, you are dedicated, resilient, and able to tackle anything put in front of you; graduating early may seem promising. It will allow you to complete your high school curriculum and potentially get a jumpstart on what you would like to do long term. If you have a clear vision for yourself, this may be another stepping stone to get to where you would like to be.

There are several questions that you can ask yourself before you decide to graduate. These questions will guide you to creating a plan for what you would like to do after graduation and if this route is truly for you.

  • Where do I see myself going in the future?
  • What are my plans for after high school?
  • What effect will graduating early have on my future or my education?
  • What do I plan to do with the extra time?
  • Will I regret missing out on staple high school activities?
  • Is there anything that will be missed by graduating early?
  • Will I still get to participate in traditional graduation?

These are all questions that will get you thinking about your life after high school and planning for what’s next.  However, suppose you are a social butterfly who enjoys being around friends and looking forward to the numerous activities that happen during high school and, more importantly, senior year. In that case, this may not be as important to you. Graduating early would likely not be for you. Instead, stay in school, savor the time you have, and graduate as you usually would.

No one should be twisting your arm about graduating early; as long as you graduate and get your diploma, there is no wrong time to do so.

What are Good Reasons to Graduate High School Early?

What are Good Reasons to Graduate High School Early?

If you are questioning why graduating early should be considered, there are several reasons. If you didn’t have to go to school every day, what would you be doing? That is one excellent way to look at the time you are saving and the time you have sacrificed to go to school. Think about all of the possibilities that are in front of you. The list below gives a few reasons why it is beneficial to graduate early.

  • Challenge Yourself – You can not just wake up one morning and decide that you will graduate early. This is something that you must think about, talk about with counselors and even plan for. Graduating early requires putting in the needed work to take all of your courses early or potentially in tandem with other classes. For many, staying on top of this is a challenge in itself.
  • Jumpstart your education – Don’t waste any time. If you have graduated early and already received a college acceptance, you don’t have to wait; you can jump right into your college education. Starting classes may seem intimidating at first due to your age, but you are more than capable.
  • Time to cater to your interests – If you are on the fence about what to major in college, you may want to take this extra time to determine what you like and what you can see yourself doing long term. Take classes that fall within your realm of interests or shadow current students to get the college in-class experience.
  • More money – Though high school is not as costly as college, you can save your coins by graduating early. Often people go all out for activities like homecoming, prom, senior week, and several others. This money can now be allocated towards your college fund or taking care of the needed tasks to prepare for college.
  • Potential to graduate college early – If you start earlier, you will likely finish college earlier. If you plan accordingly, you may be able to take many of your general education classes before you ever step foot on the campus of your choosing. However, don’t just take anyone’s word; you should always make sure that the college you are taking these general education courses at will directly correlate to the school you will be transferred to if you decide to transfer.
  • Increased availability – Going to school full-time is like working a full-time job; getting this time back means that you have free time to do several other things. This can include things like working or even applying for scholarships.
  • Avoid senioritis. By leaving high school early, you avoid the burnout which may come with completing your senior year. You also have the option to rest rather than jump back into the grind and ease yourself into college.

Does Graduating High School Early Look Good to Colleges?

Does Graduating High School Early Look Good to Colleges?

You may be asking yourself if the benefits of graduating early include increased college acceptance, and we would like to put your mind at ease. The answer to this question is, it depends. While some schools may look at graduating early as something that does not boost your college application, others may feel that it is an outstanding achievement.

It may feel like graduating earlier may substantially impact your college application, but that is not always the case.  For most schools, you will likely fair the same if you graduated at the appropriate time. Often, no matter if students graduate within four years or three, their chances of acceptance are likely the same. Colleges are more focused on what you did during this time rather than how long you did it.

Regardless of the date on your application, you and your peers are receiving the same diploma. Don’t get caught up in how a college will view you but more or less, how graduating early can benefit you in the long run. If you are graduating early to take a college course or intern for a company that complements what you are looking to do in college, this may look good on your college application.

Some colleges may also be impressed with you not because of graduating early but because of what you chose to do with the time. You need to be a well-rounded student, not just an average student, compared to other applicants who decided to graduate early.

6 Pros and Cons of Graduating High School Early

6 Pros and Cons of Graduating High School Early

Graduating early is not something that should be taken lightly. It is an achievement that can significantly change the trajectory of your life after college. For some students graduating early may be a no-brainer. However, others may be struggling to see the benefit. This section will help you understand some of the pros and cons of graduating high school early. It is essential to keep in mind that everything isn’t for everyone. Areas you may determine are important to you and drastically impact your decision to graduate early may have minimal impact on other students.

Pros of Graduating High School Early

  • Able to pursue other opportunities before starting college – Graduating early allows you the opportunity to pursue other passions before jumping right into college. For example, if you have always wanted to be a photographer, this is a great time to embark on a passion project. Use this time to solidify your interests and even potentially take an entry-level job in your intended field of study.
  • Ability to earn higher income before college – Graduating early does not mean that you have to jump from one classroom to the next. If working full-time is promising, give it a try. This will allow you time to maximize the money you have available when you go to college and potentially help pay for the transition. This may also provide you with funds to use during the school year so that you do not have to work while taking classes.
  • Avoid senioritis. Graduating high school early allows you to avoid any periods of laziness or senioritis. If you aren’t looking to get an early start on work or school, you always have the option to rest rather than jumping back into the grind.

Cons of Graduating High School Early

  • Not able to take advantage of advanced placement courses and dual college programs – If you attend a public high school, much of your education is likely free. There is no incurred cost for dual enrollment programs or college courses offered through your school. Graduating early removes your ability to utilize these programs. Any courses taken after will need to be fully funded by you.
  • Highly stressful and demanding – Another significant downside to graduating early is the high level of stress that some students may experience when trying to get ahead. Burnout and overworking is a real issue and can happen to high school students as well. High levels of anxiety may be detrimental to a student’s success and ultimately cause them to behave poorly in school.
  • Will no longer be able to participate in extracurricular activities – Graduating early means that you can no longer participate in any extracurricular activities that you had participated in before. For example, if you are a member of any clubs or teams, likely, your involvement will not be possible once you graduate.

How to Graduate High School Early?

How to Graduate High School Early?

If you have already made up your mind and decided that graduating early is something you want to do, there are several methods to going about it. However, the techniques you will read about may not all be possible for you. You must take some time and explore these methods with a high school counselor. Your school’s counselor will help you understand what avenues are available for you and specific to your educational institution.

If you are thinking about attempting to graduate early, give your counselor a heads up as soon as you are sure. One important thing to understand is that graduating early is not an easy task; it will take a lot of effort and discipline on your part. Starting early can allow you to get a jumpstart on the process.

Along with each educational institution being different, the requirements to graduate in each state are also different. If you are interested to know how to graduate early in other states, check out our other guides below:

For some students graduating early may be easy based on the schedule that their school follows. For others, this may require dual enrollment at a high school and potentially a college.

Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of where you currently stand and what it will take for you to meet the threshold. Once you have done this, you can begin to plan if you need summer school courses or if enrollment in a local community college will satisfy the requirements that you need.

Students looking to go into a trade or directly into the workforce are great candidates for early graduation. In contrast, others may be encouraged to stay in school and take advantage of AP courses, bridge programs, and other areas that may put them ahead in the future.

What to Do After Graduating High School Early?

What to Do After Graduating High School Early?

Life after high school may look different for everyone. If you have already graduated or are on the road to graduation, you may wonder what you should be doing. For some students, you may be going into a trade or to vocational school. If this is the route you are taking, you could be going directly into the workforce and getting a head start on your career.

If you choose to get a jump start on college, you may start your experience by attending courses. Getting a head start on your college acceptance will allow you to go to the college of your choosing potentially a semester or two early. Depending on your age, some colleges even have programs for students who come in under 18. These programs allow you to meet with other young students and still have a network to reach back to.

Your post-high school experience can be different depending on how you feel about jumping right into school or work. Though some may be eager to finish and get a jump start on coursework, that may not be the case for everyone.  Some students may opt to use their extra time as a gap year and take a break from the stress.

Going to college may be the best option as you will not be as restricted as you would with potential jobs. If you graduate high school at a young age, your options may be slightly more limited. Regardless of what you choose to do, there are several reasons why you should take the leap of faith.

Wrapping Things Up: Pros and Cons of Graduating High School Early

There are several pros and cons to graduating early. The high school experience is different for all students and can be rewarding rather you choose to graduate early or stay and enjoy the rest of your time.

There are several reasons why you may opt to graduate early. These can include quicker access to jobs and the ability to even take a gap year after graduation. Though there are several pros, these do not come without their disadvantages.

You must weigh your options and determine what the best route is for you. You are the only one who will have to live with these decisions, so make sure you are making the right one for your lifestyle, circumstances, and future.

Picture of 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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