There are many benefits of graduating from high school early. You may be ready to dive into college or perhaps start working full-time. If you’re looking into other ways to graduate from high school, be sure that you’re ready to leave the freedom of being a high school student. After all, jumping into college or adult life adds a new layer of challenge and responsibility.

Consider Good Reasons to Graduate High School Early

There are some good reasons to graduate from high school early. 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

The first step to an early exit strategy is to meet with a high school counselor. Ask about how many credits you need to finish high school and discuss the reasons that you want to graduate early. If you’re planning to go to college, ensure that you know how you’ll satisfy the core classes that are required for college admission. You can also use the meeting to ask your counselor about other ways to get credits toward your high school diploma.

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Test to Finish High School Early

Think about trying to test out of classes to finish high school early. If you have a high aptitude for a particular subject, you may be able to test out of a subject and apply the credits toward graduation. For example, if Spanish is your first language or you went to a Spanish Immersion school, take a test and you may be able to earn some of your credits without taking the class. Similarly, if you’re an exceptional student in math or English, you may be able to satisfy classes by demonstrating your proficiency on a test.

Take Summer Classes

Be productive in the summer, and you can satisfy some of your high school course requirements. Check out summer school options to take care of some of your credits. If you’re high school doesn’t offer the classes that 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.

Check Out Post-Secondary Option Courses

Post-secondary education option (PSEO) courses can help you gain extra credits and get a head start on college. PSEO classes are usually free for high school students and offer flexibility in scheduling. You may be able to take your regular high school schedule and add in a PSEO class at night or online to earn credits toward graduation. Since PSEO classes may be more rigorous, it’s important to ensure that you can handle the extra load, before enrolling.

Enroll in Online High School

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.

About the Author

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.