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Articles / Preparing for College / Should I Graduate High School Early?

July 19, 2021

Should I Graduate High School Early?

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Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash

Can I Graduate Early If I Don't Like High School?

I am a sophomore in high school and I'm just not into the whole social scene. I am mature for my age, my grades are average, and I am really interested in graduating early or maybe home school. I do not know which one would be best for me. I don't want to let go of my friends but then again I'm ready for a fresh start. And I do not want to go to a new school. What is your opinion?

The Dean's Advice: Take Classes at a Local College Instead

Find out if your high school offers a "Dual Enrollment Program." This is where qualified high school students can take classes at local two- or four-year colleges. The students receive high school credit for these courses and sometimes college credit, too. (The latter will depend on where you ultimately enroll in college and what their credit-granting policies are. Many colleges will not allow credit for college courses if you received high school credit for these classes already.)

Some Dual-Enrollment students take all their classes at the nearby college. Others may take just one or two. This usually depends on both the high school policy and on scheduling constraints. Typically, Dual-Enrollment students stay involved in sports, clubs, and other activities at their own high school although they usually have the opportunity to join some college activities as well.

If your high school doesn't have a formal DE program in place, you can still talk to your counselor or principal about the possibility of taking some college classes instead of only the ones at your high school. Many community colleges and some four-year schools have an evening or even weekend program, which might make it easier for you to schedule a mix of high school and college classes.

If you do try to create your own DE option, your case will probably be strongest if you can come up with several classes that you'd like to take at the college level that aren't offered at your high school or if you can point out that you want the challenge of being with older, more mature students in some of your classes.

Graduating early might be another route for you, too, although you have noted that you don't want to let go of your friends, so you might ultimately regret not sticking around to enjoy your senior year with them. Thus, taking several DE classes might provide the best of both worlds.

This Ask the Dean originally appeared in July 2010

Questions About High School and College?

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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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