Drawing Up Your Plan to Graduate High School Early

Posted on August 23 2012

The saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” rings true as you consider whether to stick to the program (and graduate at the recommended time) or get hold of a high school diploma earlier than your peers. It is important to have a plan to help you gain perspective and direction in your bid to graduate high school early.

Before you make the first steps towards earning the credits you need to finish high school ahead of time, here are some questions you need to consider:

  • What are your goals for graduating early? It is good to identify your reasons for wanting to graduate early, to help you provide the “why” for all the effort you will need to make as you complete your high school credits ahead of time. Here are some reasons why some teens want to earn that high school diploma early:
    • More academic challenge. For the advanced student, there is a feeling that high school does not offer the academic challenge he needs in order to “stretch” his abilities. The student may be looking forward to the challenge of college.
    • Savings. If you are able to move on to college earlier, this can mean some savings not just in time, but also in other related expenses – projects, books, lunch money and so on. There are also opportunities to apply for some scholarships, as these help in cutting down the state’s expenses for education. For example, Texas provides early graduates with the change to enjoy subsidies for tuition and other college-related expenses depending on how early they graduate and the number of college-level courses these student-applicants are able to complete before they graduate from high school.
    • Athletic opportunities. Aspiring student-athletes want to get out of high school to get the exposure they need through the varsity team in college. Being able to finish the required high school course work can provide you with more time to play for the college team – and perhaps get drafted professionally.
  • Are you emotionally and mentally ready to graduate early? College is a different ballgame from high school. You should make sure that you have not just the mental but emotional readiness to face the challenges of college. Do you have what it takes to take on tougher professors, reading assignments an inch thick or papers due even before you’ve had the chance to take a breath from that other paper? College requires a certain level of maturity – the ability to prioritize studies over party invitations and yet still be involved in the college community’s activities, to deny yourself the pleasure of five more minutes of sleep to spend more time on your paper and the ability to develop meaningful friendships along the way.
  • Are there some learning gaps you’re aware of? Before you head for college, it’s important to look into some gaps in your knowledge with regards to certain subjects. Do you have a problem with trigonometry? Is geography a weak area? Do you wish to have an opportunity to learn more about a foreign language? Would you like to prepare yourself for a marketing course? While you’re waiting to go to college, take on courses to help you rev up your knowledge on areas where you need a bit more help. The American Academy provides you with plenty of choices. There are over 100 online courses you can take, covering the basic subjects (Math, English) to arts and career preparation. Bridging the learning gaps is one way to solidify your academic foundation.
  • How much time/number of courses do you need to graduate? How much work does it need for you to complete the requirements for high school graduation? More than this, it is also important for you to think about how emotionally and academically ready you are to go to college. The earlier you are able to get your high school diploma, the more challenging the transitions you need to make from an online high school to a college environment. Having a plan as to your work load will help you direct your time and give you a firmer idea of where you are headed, something you need to have when you choose to graduate early.