Hey there! Thank you for writing in.
So, you want to graduate early? There’re a few things you’ll need to do beforehand. Graduating early takes some special planning and, in most states, you’ll need parent/guardian consent in addition to support from a school administrator, like the principal or vice principal.
First, you’ll need to figure out your “why”
There are two questions that will come up:
- What is the end goal?
- Why do you want to graduate early?
Some people want to graduate early so that they can enter the workforce as soon as possible. They need to start making money to support themselves or their family.
Others want to start college or technical training early. They have a plan to start the next phase of their education early.
Some people might have an opportunity to pursue – like an internship or a chance to travel.
Basically, you have to be able to share your goals with other people when they ask you “Why do you want to graduate early?” Having a confident answer will make it much easier to get support. Caring adults will help you meet your goals.
Next, start planning ahead – use backwards planning to set a graduation date (meaning – set your goals first, then figure out what steps you’ll need to get there)
You have two more questions to answer:
- How much time do you need after high school for your plans?
- When do you want to graduate?
If you’re entering the workforce this might mean that you graduate as soon as possible. If you’re planning to go to college or technical school, aim to graduate the semester before starting at your new school. Talk about this with a caring adult and your guidance counselor to figure out a timeline that works for you.
After that, identify which courses and the number of credits you will need to take
Every state has specific graduate credit requirements that you have to meet before you get your diploma. Your guidance counselor should provide you with a list of the credits you’ve already earned. Schedule a time to sit down with them and find out what credits you still need before you can graduate.
Sometimes you can earn additional credits through technical competency courses, dual credit, or advanced placement courses. Find out if these options are available to you.
Finally, get your paperwork together
If you are starting a new program after you graduate early, make sure you’ve started collecting your transcripts and letters of recommendation while you’re still in school. It’s a lot easier to get it done when you see your teachers every day!
And now you’re ready to start taking the classes you need and get out of there!
So, long story short,
- You need to know why you want to graduate early – caring adults can help you meet your goals
- Work with your guidance counselor to develop a plan
- Find out what credit requirements you will need to meet
- Get your letters of recommendation and your current transcripts ready if you need them for your next steps
I’m wishing you the best of luck!