As you head off to high school, you can’t believe you have four more years of school. It seems to stretch on for an eternity. You’re bright and have big ideas. You tend to think outside the box. The thought of being tied down to the same routine is frustrating. For someone who wants to spread their wings and move on more quickly in life, it can be tough to wait it out in senior high. However, you don’t have to follow the traditional path. Be a mover and a shaker. Some students have graduated high school before they’re 13 years old. By graduating from high school early, you can get a jump on college and even work.
How are Students Graduating Early from High School?
Students are earning their ticket out the door earlier by planning ahead. They’re organized. They talk to their academic advisers to find out how many credits they need to complete all of their course requirements earlier than the norm. To reach their goals, they have to be really motivated. Every period is filled, eliminating study halls. Independent studies, online courses, and summer school provide students with more opportunities to shorten the length of their stay in high school.
Many choose to graduate a semester early. Others manage to shave off a year. Jennifer Lawrence, the movie star, managed to graduate at the top of her class after only two years in high school. Actor Penn Badgley really broke the mold. At the age of 14, he completed his high school requirements by passing the California High School Proficiency exam. He was so fired up about pursuing an acting career that he enrolled right away in college.
Graduating early from high school can be even easier if you are homeschooled, because you can work ahead.
Why Do Students Choose to Graduate Early?
Students who choose to graduate early typically have big goals for the future. They know exactly what they want to get out of life and they are eager to move on. For some, they simply just don’t like school. They’ll do anything possible to finish their requirements early to get out in the real world. Others are bored by traditional schooling or are so advanced that they are ready for higher learning. Online schools allow students to proceed at their own pace, which means the truly motivated can easily get ahead in their studies.
What Options are Available to Advance for Students Who Don’t Graduate Early?
The fast track out of high school isn’t for everyone. However, students still have options that can help them to get a kick start to college while they are in high school. Taking online college courses, college courses that are offered through their high schools, and advanced placement classes can help them to earn college credits.
Earning credits in high school is also possible through dual-enrollment, where you are still in high school (public, private, or home school) and take community college classes — even for free in many cases! So you could do finish your AA while still in high school, thereby getting two years of college without paying for them–and then graduate with your Bachelor’s in only two more years because you finished all your prereqs while getting the AA. SWEET!
Graduating from high school early is not all roses. We know of a couple of extremely bright kids with good upbringings who graduated high school early, but were unfortunately introduced to drugs and other harmful things by their community college student peers. Being immature and freer from parental and teacher supervision (in college you are on your own), they fell prey to the peer pressure, and to this day are suffering from their bad choices–including substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, and even imprisonment. So make sure you are mature enough to handle life outside of high school because it can be a jungle out there.