Not everyone has the option to graduate early. You can do it by going into college with credits from high school, taking a heavy course load throughout each semester, taking summer courses for credits, or a combination of two or three.
Should I graduate early? Yes! Graduating early will allow you to get a head start on your peers and will save you a whole semester’s tuition. You will be able to get in the workforce or go to graduate school faster and will begin your career at least a few months quicker!
There are a few questions that you should ask yourself before making the decision to graduate early.
What will I miss out on if I graduate early?
There are reasons why someone would convince you to graduate early. They are:
Many people see college as a place that you go to get an education and a degree so you can put it on your resume and then start applying for jobs. College offers you way more than that. You should be growing your network and learning life lessons that you will use once you are on your own in the real world. Leaving a semester early can take away from this and you could lose opportunities to connect that could be valuable in the future, but you will have many more in the real world.
Having fun in college is one of the most talked about aspects. There are parties, bars, and a lot more freedom when you are living on your own. I have heard :If you graduate a semester early you will be missing out on the opportunity to make memories with your college friends”. There is no reason why you can’t go back to school to go out on the weekends with your friends and still graduate early.
By graduating early you will hopefully have a full time job and a set schedule that will allow you go visit your friends and still enjoy your life, but you are still getting a head start. You will have a better income and you will be able to enjoy yourself if you do not have to stress about class or about saving money to pay for the final semester of college.
Walking At Graduation
If you graduate early you still get to walk with your graduating class. Many people are scared that they would not be able to sit with their friends at graduation. You should check with your school policies, but my university allowed students who graduated early to walk on the same warm day in May as the rest of the class.
Pros of Graduating Early
There are a ton of pros to graduating early.
Saving money is the biggest advantage to graduating early. You will be saving thousands to tens of thousands of dollars by getting out one or two semesters early. You will also save money on housing, books, transportation, and all of the other costs that come with college. You will also (hopefully) be making money and working in a career field that you enjoy.
Many people believe that after college you do not need to continue learning. This is the biggest lie that you could be told. I learned more about life and business in the first 6 months after graduation than I did in all of my time before I started my job. The real world is much different than school is. There are no standardized tests or memorizing flash cards, but there are deadlines that you need to meet and more knowledge than you will be able to learn in a lifetime. The best thing that you can do is fully immerse yourself in the industry that you love and do everything you can to be successful.
You can also get an education by going to graduate school or find another course that will help you advance in the field that you enjoy working in. In the technology field you can get multiple certifications from Google that will teach you how to be an expert using a certain set of tools that they offer. This has a huge value when it comes to interviews and building up your resume. You can also attend workshops that will help you advance in your field.
The Opportunity To Travel
Traveling after graduation is something that many people do to reward themselves for years of hard work. If you can graduate early, you will be able to go abroad and see the world and get back in time to search for a job when your industry is beginning their searches again. Traveling can be a very important differentiator when you are sitting in an interview. You can explain what you did and show that you have outside interests and are a well-rounded and cultured person.
You also get to see the world for the fun of it. Going to new countries and seeing the world could be a once in a life time thing. Why not make it happen when you are young and have the time, energy, and desire to see it all. This is something that I wish I could have done and regret not making it happen.
Take a Break
After going through more than 16 years of sitting in classrooms and studying for exams you might need a month or two of relaxing at home and figuring out what your five year plan is going to be. You can begin a side business that will be able to generate income while you look for a full time position. If you are lucky, you can turn the side business into a full time career. There are a ton of side hustles that you can try out and see if you can make any of them work for you.
Graduating early has a lot of benefits, but there are some negatives that can impact your decision. You need to speak with your adviser and someone else that you trust to make sure that your decision is the correct one. This decision could greatly impact your future and you should make sure that you do what is going to help you in the long run.
How many credits do you need to graduate undergraduate school?
The number of credits vary depending on the school and degree, but the normal 2-year program needs 64 credits and a 4-year program needs 120 credits. Make sure to check with your adviser to make sure you have enough credits to graduate.
How do you get enough credits to graduate early?
You can get enough credits by taking advanced placement (AP) credits in high school, taking extra courses during the semester, or taking courses during breaks. You can also get credits for internships and other work that you do throughout your four years at school.
Do grad schools prefer students who graduate early?
Grad school’s tend to take students with higher GPAs than students who graduate early. If you are trying to get into a graduate school program and your grades will suffer if you try to rush, stay for the extra semester and secure the GPA you need. It would not be worth it if you can’t get into your dream school.