Graduating High School Early

Graduating high school a semester or year early has recently 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.


When considering the option of graduating early, applicants should weigh the possible advantages and disadvantages due to the many implications that could incur. While it may seem like good idea to get on one’s college path early to get a head start, it doesn’t necessarily give the applicant a competitive advantage in the long run and may actually be detrimental to the student.

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 may possibly be deterred by the youth and inexperience of a younger student who decided to forego their last year of high school.

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.

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, where students are essentially allowed to “double up” on courses, 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.

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.

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, there is a certain element that is missed when students take very extended time off of academic work.

That being said, graduating early shouldn’t be considered a taboo to all students, especially those who have already exhausted their academic options in high school and want to continue to academically challenge themselves. If the above conditions are met, a student could consider graduating early.

This is assuming of course that the student believes that he or she is mentally prepared to go out on their own and be independent.The social aspect of college is also important and students who start early may have trouble finding friends and enjoying themselves. 

Questions? Let us know!