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Articles / Applying to College / Early Graduation for Married High School Senior?

July 16, 2010

Early Graduation for Married High School Senior?

Question:I want to graduate early because I got married and my husband is in the military 1600 miles away, but I have a full year of College Prep English that's required, and it's making it hard for me to graduate early. What can I do?

"The Dean" isn't sure if you mean that you want to spend one more semester in high school and graduate in January (or whenever the first semester ends) or if you're hoping you can get a diploma right now (in the summer) based on work you've already completed through your junior year.

If it's the former, then you might be able to double up on English during that first semester. That is, you can either take two English courses at your school (the College Prep class for one semester and maybe one other that the school will let you take simultaneously) OR you can try to enroll in a semester-long online class or night/weekend class at a local college in addition to the in-school course.

If, however, you're hoping to join your husband right away without going back to school for 12th grade, then my best guess is that your school officials will not grant you a diploma now but they MAY allow you to take an English class wherever you go (e.g. online or at a local college) and will then award your diploma once you've successfully completed it, assuming of course that you've fulfilled all the other graduation requirements.

But before you contemplate such a drastic change, have you determined that you will indeed be able to be with your husband? Does he expect to be at his current post---where you can join him---for a year or more, or is it possible that he may be sent overseas or elsewhere that you can't go? You don't want to uproot too hastily only to learn that your husband is relocating.

Finally, when or if you enroll in college, do note that there are special financial aid provisions for married students. If you apply for financial aid, you will be considered an Independent Student. This means that the amount of "need-based" aid that you are eligible to receive will be based on your household income and not on your parents. For most young married couples this is good news since students tend to earn less than their parents do, although there are always exceptions.

Good luck to you whatever you decide, and safe travels to you and your husband wherever you land.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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