Many benefits can come from graduating high school early. You may be ready to dive into college or perhaps start working full-time. If you’re looking to accelerate your high school graduation, be sure you’re ready to dive into adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it.
Consider Benefits of Graduating High School Early
Depending on your goals, graduating early could be a large benefit in the long run. If you’re planning to pursue a career that requires extensive education, it may be helpful to move on to college courses more quickly. For example, becoming a physician can take twelve additional years of schooling and experience. Beginning college early will help you move into your career more expeditiously. Similarly, if you aren’t enjoying high school and are ready to move on to a full-time job, leaving high school may be the right choice for you.
Meet With a Counselor
You should meet with a high school counselor if you're considering early graduation. Be sure to do this immediately so you can learn more about the process and decide if it's right for you. Ask how many credits you need to finish high school. Discuss the reasons why you want to graduate early. If you’re planning to go to college, ensure that you know how you’ll satisfy the core classes required for college admission. High school counselors will likely guide you to make your early graduation easier and less stressful.
Graduating early requires you to complete high school at an expedited pace. You'll likely encounter feelings of stress and exhaustion along the way. Be sure to stay focused on the end goal. Write down why you're trying to graduate early to make these goals concrete. Maybe it's because you want to begin the path toward your dream job. Or, maybe it's because you want to start college early to get a head start. Whatever the reason, keep it in mind as you navigate an accelerated high school experience.
Take Summer Classes
Be productive in the summer to satisfy some of your high school course requirements. Consider enrolling in summer school to knock out a few credits. If your high school doesn’t offer the classes you need, you may be able to take classes at a nearby district. Some schools will offer physical education credit for classes or sports that you pursue on your own time. If you pay for private lessons or participate in a club sport during the summer, you may be able to satisfy some of your credit requirements. Be sure to check with a counselor for specifics.
Take College Courses in High School
Most high schools offer opportunities to earn college credit through AP or Dual Credit courses. Talk with an academic counselor to see if your high school offers any of these courses. Enroll in the ones that interest you the most. Earning college credit in high school looks great on a transcript and will help you get to and through college quicker. You'll also be more equipped for college coursework.
Look Into Online Options
There are other ways to get a high school diploma. If traditional face-to-face high school is not for you, look into online high school options. Some online schools offer classes year-round. If you’re a go-getter, you can accelerate your graduation date by studying at your own pace. Your school counselor can help you look into online options. You’ll still need to satisfy some classes, like physical education, in a creative way.
- Check out scholarships offered to students who graduate from high school early. These might help offset the costs of enrolling in college.
- Get your parents on board for graduating early before you starting doing all the work. In most states, parental consent is necessary to graduate from high school early.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.