Contrary to what some high school students might think, graduating high school early isn’t an easy feat. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work and planning to graduate early and still have everything you need to pursue a college education.
If you’re considering trying to graduate high school early, you should start planning ahead. Many high school counselors suggest planning as soon as middle school.
Deciding to graduate early can affect a lot of your future plans, and it doesn’t work for everyone. Here’s what you should know about graduating high school early.
Will Graduating Early Help or Hurt You?
Whether or not graduating high school early will help or hurt you largely depends on who you are and what your plans for the future are.
Experts in counseling suggest that graduating early works best for a specific type of student:
- Students that showcase an aptitude for hard work
- Highly determined individuals
- Students that have outside commitments to their family
- Students that anticipate going into a technical or highly specialized field
- Students planning a non-traditional education path
Because graduating early can affect your ability to get into a traditional four-year college, it tends to work better if you plan to attend a technical or community college first.
Additionally, most students who graduate early do so because they’re contributing to their family, who might otherwise not be able to survive without the extra income. These are situations where the students don’t shy away from working hard and are determined to do what they need to help their families.
Counselors also advise against students graduating early just because they want to. They suggest taking the full four-year high school process seriously, as it will help you prepare for higher education if you do.
Talk To Your High School Counselor
If you do decide you want to graduate early, your first step will be talking to your high school counselor. They will be able to look at your transcripts and advise you on how best to prepare for early graduation.
You must have this conversation as soon as possible, as you’ll see, graduating early requires doubling up on classes.
Here’s what you need to hammer out during our counseling meeting:
- What is still required for you to graduate
- A class schedule or plan that you can achieve
- The minimum academic requirements for graduation (your GPA, etc.)
Assess Your Requirements
Your meeting with your counselor should give you an idea of what you need to complete before you can graduate. They will be able to outline an academic plan that will help you meet all the credit requirements for both graduation and college acceptance.
They will look at all the credits you’ve already taken and see what still needs to be included in your plan.
It is essential that you work hard to meet these requirements, as falling behind will likely mean that you will not be able to graduate on the timeline you’ve selected.
Come Up With Your Plan
With your academic plan in place, you’ll know what to do when it comes to fitting in all your classes. Graduating high school early means that you’ll have to double up on your class load, which can involve some serious creativity.
Once you know what you need to take, you can start looking at options for online classes, summer school, or alternative education opportunities that will help you to meet your requirements.
Enroll In Summer School or Online Classes
Chances are that you’re going to need to enroll in summer school or some online education course to double up on your credits.
Summer school is an excellent option as it comes at no extra cost to you or your family. While online classes can be costly and don’t give you the dedicated resources, you might need to understand the material like a classroom environment does entirely.
However, online classes are a great option if you need flexibility and are self-motivated enough to learn without a teacher present.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it helps you stick to the academic plan your counselor developed.
Consider a Dual Enrollment Option
Another great option for getting your class credits taken care of is dual enrollment. A dual enrollment program allows you to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school. In some cases, you can enroll in one of these programs and graduate with both your high school diploma and your associate’s degree.
These are highly competitive programs that require a lot of hard work. Make sure it’s the right choice for you before moving in that direction.
As you can see, graduating high school early takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you feel it’s the right move for you, be sure to talk to both your parents and your high school counselor to come up with the right plan.