With an increasing number of students taking and passing AP tests during their senior, sometimes junior, years of high school, early college graduation is an option for many. At numerous schools, entering college with AP credits is the norm—and I’m not just referring to the Ivy Leagues. When students enter their freshman year with sophomore status, they may have to decide if early graduation is a good option for them. Here are some things to consider before deciding whether to leave or to hang around.
FinancingLet’s start with the practical. For some students, financing is not a problem. They can afford to stay the whole four years—or will choose to stay, regardless of financial need. For others, this is not the case. Students who are already burdened down by loans may want to seriously consider early graduation. Yes, the college experience is important, but so is the post-college experience. Travel issues may not be a big deal until you find that a college bus doesn’t circle your workplace every seven minutes. You will need a car and your may want a new place to stay. Students should also remember that additional expenses kick in after college. You may be unable to claim dependency on medical insurance and tax returns, you don’t get good-grade discount on car insurance, and your movie tickets will cost more than $8—at least in the city.InterestsEven those who are passionate about their major are likely to have unrelated interests. Most colleges do force students to take classes outside of their major, and, whether students like it or not, they will get a taste of something else. However, many students find ways to get around these requirements. They turn the opportunity to explore interests into the chance to take classes that scream experience on a resume or ones that scream easy credit—I’m not saying that I’m not guilty.
College is a great place to take classes that are odd and interesting, even if they require additional work. I wish I would have taken that class on Middle Eastern relations. It may sound odd to you, but it sounded cool to me. It would have made my hard life harder, but when am I going to get that chance again?
If you like college and want to explore options before leaving, you should do so. Just don’t stretch your reasoning for doing so. When I spoke to my counselor about leaving early, she was adamantly opposed to it. “Think of all those things you wanted to do,” she said. “You can take those ice skating classes you have always dreamt about.” Ice skating? I don’t want to skate, especially if it costs $13,000 per year.
Those who have their minds made upIf you’re reading this article because you know what you want but need help getting there, here are my suggestions. Know that to graduate early, you need to stay organized: you need to plan ahead.