Though high school years can be the best years of a person’s life, there are some students who want to graduate from high school early. The reasons for accelerated graduation vary, but typically include wanting to go to college right away, not feeling intellectually stimulated in high school, or wanting to get a job immediately. Below you will find a few tips to help you get your high school diploma as early as possible.
Understand Why You Want to Graduate from High School Early
The very first thing you should do is to reflect on your motivations for wanting to graduate from high school early. There should be good reasons for it, because your high school years can be the best and most memorable years of your life – and you will not be able to get them back.
Evaluate Your Options for Graduating from High School Early
After you have decided that you do want to graduate early, you need to evaluate your options. There are three options to graduate early. The first option is to take the GED test and get a GED certificate. It takes no more than 8 hours to complete the exam, so many students choose this route. While the GED is a popular option, it is important to note that a GED certificate is still seen as inferior to a high school diploma.
For those hoping to go to college and enjoy greater career prospects, an online high school may be a better option. An online high school allows you to work at your own pace. The average online high school student graduates from high school one year earlier than a traditional high school student. If you work hard, you can possibly graduate in two years.
The last option is to evaluate traditional high schools that allow students to take a heavier load and possibly go to summer school in order to graduate early. Find out what courses are offered during summer. Chances are that they will be the common Algebra, Geometry, History and English classes. You can get these classes out of the way in the summer, and save the school year for other courses.
Take AP Classes to Graduate from High School Early
If you want to graduate from high school early, consider taking advanced placement (AP) classes. These classes are available at traditional high schools as well as online high schools. AP classes are accelerated, and allow you to earn college credits while in high school. If you take the AP tests and get a score of at least a three, you may be able to earn college credit for those courses.
Consider High Schools with Dual Enrollment Programs
Many traditional as well as online high schools offer dual enrollment with local community colleges, allowing students to earn college credits while they are in high school. However, you should ask yourself if you have the mental and emotional maturity to handle the extra responsibilities and coursework before you decide to pursue dual enrollment.
Have a Clear Plan after Graduation
Graduating early without a plan may leave you in limbo. Some students decide to go to a foreign country as an exchange student, or to pursue another yearlong challenge and still start college at age 18. Other students choose to start college immediately. Many also decide to take on a job to gain some real-world experience before starting college.