Graduating High School Early

Andy Wang
Andy Wang

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Graduating high school early, by a semester or a whole year, has recently gained more attention. It’s become an increasingly popular topic in the college admissions realm. Once never even considered by students and their parents, it has consistently been a recurring topic in conversation. Today, we’re going to discuss graduating high school early from a college admissions perspective.

When considering the option of graduating early, applicants should weigh the possible advantages and disadvantages. With an altered plan, many implications could incur. It may seem like good idea to get on one’s college path early to get a head start, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for every student. Let’s discuss why it may not give the applicant a competitive advantage in the long run; and may actually be detrimental in other ways.

Age years

From a developmental standpoint, graduating high school early wouldn’t be the most ideal move for most students. From a technical view, it may be hard for students so young to explore internship opportunities as they won’t be the legal age to work full time for many openings. In addition, companies and startups steer away from the youth and inexperience of a younger student in the beginning. If you decide to forego their last year of high school, keep this in mind.


From a non-technical standpoint, sending a student early to college may not be the best for the student’s mental development. Especially for students who didn’t go to boarding schools away from their parents, adjusting to the college may style may be extra challenging. Spending extended time away from family for the first time in an environment where students have to focus on classes will take its toll regardless of how prepared the student may think he or she is.

Fast track

However, there are certain elements and scenarios where it would be in the best interest of the student to leave high school a year early to start college. Specifically, in 4×4 school systems, students can essentially “double up” on courses. In this scenario, students will be able to finish their academic curriculum in three years. In this case, a student may want to consider graduating early as there isn’t many more academic classes for the student to take.

Stay organized

In addition, if the student has already taken his or her standardized testing (including subject tests), a student should consider at least researching possible options a year earlier. With so many checkmarks done in the college planning list, it wouldn’t be the craziest idea for a student to try and apply early. Remain organized so you don’t forget anything critical on your way!

Our position

For the majority of school students, graduating high school early to pursue a faster college degree is not the most ideal move. Even for students who only graduate a semester early to travel or work, you will need to plan your time. A certain element of continuity is missed when students take very extended time off of academic work.

And this is assuming, of course, that the student is ready to be independent.The social aspect of college is also important. Students who start early may have trouble finding friends and enjoying themselves. 

That said, graduating early isn’t taboo to all students; especially, those who have already exhausted their academic options in high school. It can allow forward-seeking students continue to academically challenge themselves. If the above conditions are met, consider graduating early.

Questions? Let us know!