For those high school students who want to start college early, get jump-started on a job opportunity, or who simply don’t like high school and want to get out as fast as they possibly can, there is one option that has become increasingly popular.
More and more students are hopping on the chance to graduate early, mostly a semester early, in December or January.
Of course, it takes some work -- and summer vacations might be sacrificed, but the reward of being done with high school a little earlier makes that extra work worth it for some.
In light of that, here are five steps to take when exploring early graduation options, according to the website PrepScholar.
Figure out when you want to graduate.
This is the simplest step, and usually, there is one main option. It’s rare to graduate an entire year early, so this is mostly about settling on how to graduate a semester early and basking in the glow over the holidays in December and January.
But just in case there are options for earlier graduation, talk with a counselor or an adviser.
Know how many credits are needed.
You’ll need the student handbook or counselor at your school for this one.
Figure out from the beginning how many credits are required for graduation, and do the math from there as to how many credits you’ll need to complete each year to put yourself in a position to graduate early.
Research the classes needed to graduate.
At this point, it will get a little more complicated.
Some schools have different requirements for certain classes you’ll need to pass in order to graduate. For example, be sure to know if you need to pass specific math classes, such as geometry or algebra, or just a particular number of math classes. The same logic applies to other subjects, as well.
If you’re going to college, figure out which classes certain institutions require.
High schools might have certain requirements for graduation, but colleges might have completely different standards of their own for admission. For example, some colleges might want four years of English classes completed, while the high school only requires three for graduation.
Establish a plan of attack on when to take classes.
With all the above information gathered, it’s now time to figure out a schedule of when to take classes, not only during a typical school year, but also in the summer months to help you get ahead. It is a complicated puzzle to figure out, for sure. But with some planning, foresight and, of course, hard work to make sure all those classes are passed, you can celebrate graduating from high school in December or January while your classmates still will have months left.
This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.