Graduating Early: Should I and How Should I


August 27, 2007
by Scholarships.com Staff
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.

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.

 
     
  • Get a list of graduation requirements. Check your college department website or contact your counselor for a list of required classes as they relate to your major. Take note of how many total credits, not just which classes, you will need. If you plan to graduate early by taking additional classes, split them up between semesters and, if possible, take some over the summer.
  •  
  • Pay attention to seasonally-changing classes. Some advanced-level classes may only be taken after the lower levels are accounted for. However, both levels may not be offered each semester. Take the lower levels as early as possible to make future scheduling easier. If this is your last semester and the required Biology 205 and Chemistry 302 are offered at the same time, you may have a problem. I know. You totally would have taken Bio 205 if it was offered last semester.  Don’t worry, this scenario is very avoidable.
  •  
  • Let your counselor know. Oftentimes, students need to declare their decision to graduate months ahead. Schools, especially big ones, assume that you will graduate within a certain amount of years. Let your counselor know about your plans, and ask who else, and when, needs a heads up.
  •  
  • Don’t be swayed. Counselors are there to help you, and it’s always good to take outside opinions into consideration. However, counselors cannot figure you out after a few meetings, and their experience with other students does not always apply to you. If you know what you want, don’t ask if you can. Ask how you can.
  •  

Getting more college financial aid doesn’t have to be a relentless search. Scholarships.com is totally free. Connect with our massive database of millions of college scholarships at any time by searching for awards in a variety of ways. Scholarships.com offers the quickest and easiest way to search for, apply to, and win college scholarships. Start making your college education affordable or perhaps even free, by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Posted Under : College Culture

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Acceptable groups include students admitted to U.S. colleges and universities, employees who have accepted job offers in the U.S., and lecturers invited to speak to American audiences.

International Students Impacted by Partial Travel Ban

June 27, 2017 9:08 AM
by Susan Dutca
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

    When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the go big or go home mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take more work - meaning more time spent on the application process and essays, needing strong recommendation letters and competing against a pool of highly-qualified students. If you're motivated to land a large dollar scholarship that can potentially pay for your entire college tuition, check out these generously-endowed scholarships:

Large Dollar Scholarships

June 23, 2017 11:01 AM
by Susan Dutca
When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the "go big or go home" mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take

    Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love these quality products and services, you may be interested these generously-endowed scholarships. Check out this list of brand name scholarships offered by the companies with which you are most familiar:

Brand Name Scholarships

June 22, 2017 2:44 PM
by Susan Dutca
Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love

    Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though college can be expensive, it is still a fast track towards the American Dream and can be more easily attained with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships - which do not have to be repaid! Exercise your freedom this July and help make your college education dreams more affordable with these red, white and blue July 2017 scholarships:

July 2017 Summer Scholarships

June 22, 2017 11:43 AM
by Susan Dutca
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology,  healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees.

POTUS Pushing Apprenticeship Programs, Grants in 2017

June 14, 2017 11:16 AM
by Susan Dutca
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as

    Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your parents and student loans to help foot your fall tuition bill. While those are all legitimate options, you now have more free time (and less homework and tests), so why not take advantage of these summer scholarships? It's not too late to earn free college scholarships to help pay for school. Use your downtime wisely by applying for these summer 2017 scholarships!:

Summer 2017 Scholarships

June 2, 2017 3:47 PM
by Susan Dutca
Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your

    In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and allies. Scholarships.com is dedicated to bringing equal financial aid and free college scholarship opportunities for all students.

LGBT Scholarships for Pride Month 2017

June 1, 2017 11:42 AM
by Susan Dutca
In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and