Should I Try to Graduate Early?

Grad Hat

The rush to graduate high school is nearly universal. Especially during senior year, it seems all students can think about is finishing high school and moving on to bigger and better things. But for some students, it is possible to finish all of the requirements for a diploma and graduate early. If you can graduate early, is this the right choice for you? 

What Will It Mean to Graduate Early? 

Graduating early means more than just leaving high school. Often, it can also mean the beginning of adult responsibilities, as many students who choose this route end up either going straight into college or using what would be their final semester of high school to begin working and saving money for college. It usually means missing out on the fun traditions for high school seniors, from final pictures and yearbook signings to the senior class prank and spirit week. You can request that you still be included in things like prom and the graduation ceremony, but that is up to the discretion of your high school’s administration. 

Could I Stay in High School? 

One important thing to consider is whether you really need to graduate early. If you have finished your requirements for graduation, you can finish out your final semester in high school by taking classes in the subject matter you haven’t had time to explore. This could be especially helpful in determining if your desired field of study is the best one for you, or it could help you discover a new interest. You could also use the time to get ahead by earning college credits, either by taking AP courses or by taking college courses through the NC Career and College Promise

What’s Your Plan if You Graduate Early? 

If you want to graduate early, consider what you’ll do with the time that you’ll save by doing it. If the answer is “a whole lot of nothing,” then it might be time to reconsider. Have a plan in place before you leave school to ensure that your time is put to the best possible use. There is a lot of potential packed into those sixteen weeks if you know how to harness it! 

Early graduation can seem like a dream come true for someone who has been waiting to finish school since they entered the classroom. But before you take the leap, talk with your school counselor to see if it’s necessary, or even a good idea for you. And if not, then we at College Foundation of North Carolina encourage you to savor your last few weeks of high school, and use that time to get ready for the next big step in your education — college! 

Create an account on and use our college prep timeline to see what you could be doing to make your transition to college an easy one!

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