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graduating early

PlateroPlatero Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2006 in College Admissions
Hi! I'm a new member here and found this forum really helpful. I'm planning on graduating and going to college one year early but don't really have any idea about it. Can you guys tell me briefly about it? Like do colleges have special programs for early graduates like they have Early Decision? Do they think it good or bad that a candidate is graduating early? Will they keep it in mind when going through my profile? Will I still be able to apply to the same college next year after being rejected when I applied early, without being "discriminated"? What's the greatest obstacle in this process? Thanks! I'd be grateful!
Post edited by Platero on

Replies to: graduating early

  • ostricheyesostricheyes Posts: 46Registered User Junior Member
    First, do one heck of a google search, and look at all the admissions sites for the schools you are interested in.

    Second, make sure your parents know and support your decision.

    And now, for my own tid bits of information I've gleaned. I have a friend who'll be attending college in the fall even though she is *still* a high school senior. After she's done with her freshmen year, she'll be officially graduating from high school. Lol.

    But, keep in mind that as a junior, you'll most likely have a tougher time getting into the top schools because you'll be swimming along with seniors who have one more year to do E.C.s, win awards, etc. etc.

    Also remember that going to college a year early means facing that big ugly fall termbill, a year early. Have you really exhausted everything your high school has had to offer?

    You *must* talk to your guidance counselor about this as well. He/She'll point you in the right direction.

    Anywho, once you enroll in a college and try to "apply" again somewhere else, you'll be considered a transfer student -- aka, no starting freshmen year again. And getting in to one of the top schools as a transfer is notoriously difficult.

    Graduating and going to college a year early is a big decision. You'll want to be as well-informed as possible. You'll also want the input of trusted adults/teachers/parents etc. to guide you. You have to *really* want this. There's no point in graduating early, just to graduate early.

    Besides, senior year is the best! You'll have time to take all those electives, giving you mostly "free" insight into what you may or may not want to do in college. Because goodness, experimenting with courses in college is expensive.
  • saint_paulsaint_paul Posts: 469Registered User Member
    I have an important question for you: why do you want to graduate early?

    I can't give you a full explanation of the process, but I know it starts with a talk with your guidance counselor. As the above poster said, your parents/guardians will have to also support this decision as well. Because schools have "graduation requirements," which tend to vary, you'll figure out what you need to take class-wise junior year in order to graduate -- this will all be discussed with your counselor. If your school has a student handbook or course packet, then they will usually include these requirements and you can look them at your leisure. Beyond that, there's not much to it, except some paperwork. You can have your diploma mailed to you, or I suppose can just attend the senior graduation ceremony.

    But, beyond that.. I have had several friends who considered graduating a year early, but changed their mind with the progression of high school. Fortunately for them, and maybe for you, there are other paths you can take and still get out early, if that's your ultimate prerogative. Maybe if I knew why you wished to graduate early, I could suggest specifically some of these alternative routes. Here are just some ideas..

    1. Some schools have a work-school program where you can go to school for a 1/2 day and get out early to work. If you want to graduate early to work, doing this is probably a better option.

    2. Some schools offer post-secondary enrollment, so you can actually take classes at your local community college or university while still in school. If you want to graduate early to go to college early, doing this is probably a better option.

    3. Some schools have internships that you can attend the last quarter of your senior year, so if you want to get some work experience in your field of interest, this might be for you.

    4. Maybe you just want to graduate to get out. Consider internet school; you'll probably graduate from that sooner than you will with a diploma. (I mean if you are REALLY eager to get out).

    5. Some schools let you graduate a semester earlier just if you have all the necessary requirements. This is definitely an option to look into, because you'll have the advantage of being a senior and having time off.

    Although I can't claim to have any firsthand knowledge of the competitiveness of a student who graduated early, I have heard that many colleges discourage such applicants -- generally because they are younger than their normal freshman class. You'll have to do some researching on your behalf to figure out what your own school thinks.

    edit:
    Read what the above poster wrote carefully. There is no point to graduate early just because you want to, think it's a cool idea, or because your friends are (I'm not accusing you of this, just saying). Senior year is a good year to do something progressive for YOURSELF. Most of the options I listed above will actually give you an edge in the application process. If you have a senior year, you'll be able to take AP classes, get leadership positions in ecs, and make yourself a more well-rounded applicant. Unless you plan on doing something clearly important with that extra year (not lounge at home) like volunteer in Cambodia.. you can make a better choice.

    edit EDIT:
    Colleges that you apply to will probably ask you as well why you chose to graduate a year early, so it's good to have a well thought out response to that question regardless. You don't want to end up saying: "Well.. for that year I uhh.. worked at a pet place... and uhh..."
  • PlateroPlatero Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    First of all, Thank you two so much! I didn't expect so detailed and helpful suggestions...you've made it a lot easier for me.
    Okay, now, for why I want to graduate early, it's a whole big complicated VISA problem, and else. I'm new to the country. I need to get a student visa in one year in order to be legal, and I thought the best way is to get it from college instead of from my public high school now. There are other options if I do regular graduation, but they involve other problems like my family will be separated ( whcih I will feel guilty about), and I thought it wouldn't hurt too much to get one year ahead of others, right? I would not make this choice if there isn't all this chaos, I know Senior year will be awesome and awarding; but probably this is the best for all of us so far.
    And so, my parents know about and support the idea of graduating early. As for my counselor...I talked to her a few times before when the visa issue wasn't so urgent, and let's say she didn't really seem enthusiastic about it. I know it would demand a lot of effort and time to get all those credits and courses and requirements on the high school side, but what I'm really worried about is the college side of this thing. Because I REALLY want to get into a good college.
    I did look on some admission sites of colleges, and all I saw are Early Decision and Early Action, if any similar to early graduation. And what came up in google search are mostly threads posted by people who have had this kind of experience. So I thought maybe people will be more helpful than colleges, which is why I turned to you guys. But there're still a lot of questions...
    Here're some: ostricheyes, when I said "applying to the same college the second time", I meant, for instance, in the case that I wasn't accepted to my desired college when I applied one year early, and I decided to take another year in high school and then do regular graduation and application (which bears the guilty action of separating my family), would they discriminate me because I was once rejected bu them?
    oh, and, I saw one person saying she didn;t decide to graduate one year early until the middle of her junior year,yet finally still got into college a year early, this posts the question that do early graduates, although graduating a year early, have to apply a whole year early?(Cuz she couldn't have finished all the application after making the decision so late in the year)
    Now that we've talked so much, I'm just going to ask you of my chances of getting into whatever kind of college. Last year(sophmore year) was my first year in the country. (I moved from China) My extracurriculums are mediocre, marching band, tennis JV, band, orchestra, choirs, piano, scrappy volunteering and not any leadership. ( i'm not that kind of leadership person) My only competitive stuff are a pretty good GPA, my 2 800s on SAT II Chem and Math II and an AP score of 5 on Chem I got this summer.I'm also taking 3 APs this year (Calc BC, Physics, Stats), but no AP Score will be out by the time I apply. I'm taking SAT I this Oct/Nov, but the score is not going to be ridiculously high because I'm not proficient at English as you guys are. Conservatively, Do you guys think I have any chance at all to get into those top colleges like, say, Princeton?
    This question might be bold and laughable and all, but it's my dream college. I would go very hard after it if I can do regular graduation.
  • PlateroPlatero Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    First of all, Thank you two so much! I didn't expect so detailed and helpful suggestions...you've made it a lot easier for me.
    Okay, now, for why I want to graduate early, it's a whole big complicated VISA problem, and else. I'm new to the country. I need to get a student visa in one year in order to be legal, and I thought the best way is to get it from college instead of from my public high school now. There are other options if I do regular graduation, but they involve other problems like my family will be separated ( whcih I will feel guilty about), and I thought it wouldn't hurt too much to get one year ahead of others, right? I would not make this choice if there isn't all this chaos, I know Senior year will be awesome and awarding; but probably this is the best for all of us so far.
    And so, my parents know about and support the idea of graduating early. As for my counselor...I talked to her a few times before when the visa issue wasn't so urgent, and let's say she didn't really seem enthusiastic about it. I know it would demand a lot of effort and time to get all those credits and courses and requirements on the high school side, but what I'm really worried about is the college side of this thing. Because I REALLY want to get into a good college.
    I did look on some admission sites of colleges, and all I saw are Early Decision and Early Action, if any similar to early graduation. And what came up in google search are mostly threads posted by people who have had this kind of experience. So I thought maybe people will be more helpful than colleges, which is why I turned to you guys. But there're still a lot of questions...
    Here're some: ostricheyes, when I said "applying to the same college the second time", I meant, for instance, in the case that I wasn't accepted to my desired college when I applied one year early, and I decided to take another year in high school and then do regular graduation and application (which bears the guilty action of separating my family), would they discriminate me because I was once rejected bu them?
    oh, and, I saw one person saying she didn;t decide to graduate one year early until the middle of her junior year,yet finally still got into college a year early, this posts the question that do early graduates, although graduating a year early, have to apply a whole year early?(Cuz she couldn't have finished all the application after making the decision so late in the year)
    Now that we've talked so much, I'm just going to ask you of my chances of getting into whatever kind of college. Last year(sophmore year) was my first year in the country. (I moved from China) My extracurriculums are mediocre, marching band, tennis JV, band, orchestra, choirs, piano, scrappy volunteering and not any leadership. ( i'm not that kind of leadership person) My only competitive stuff are a pretty good GPA, my 2 800s on SAT II Chem and Math II and an AP score of 5 on Chem I got this summer.I'm also taking 3 APs this year (Calc BC, Physics, Stats), but no AP Score will be out by the time I apply. I'm taking SAT I this Oct/Nov, but the score is not going to be ridiculously high because I'm not proficient at English as you guys are. Conservatively, Do you guys think I have any chance at all to get into those top colleges like, say, Princeton?
    This question might be bold and laughable and all, but it's my dream college. I would go very hard after it if I can do regular graduation.
  • kwolfendenkwolfenden Posts: 95Registered User Junior Member
    It's called early admission. Go to your college of choice's website and do a search. The process is basically the same, you just check the early admission box on your application. I'm thinking about applying early admission too :)
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Posts: 16,854Super Moderator Senior Member
    Sounds like you have a couple of things going on here and your situation is inded complicated. Graduating early is not necessarily going to solve your dilemma as first of all if you apply to college keep in mind that you will be in the international pool of applicants if you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Most colleges are not need blind to international students so your ability to pay will be a factor at a lot of schools. The international pool is a very large pool with a lot of people vying for a few spots. Unless you have exhausted all your school has to offer , not simply raking up enough credits to graduate, you are going to be on the down side of the power dynamic in a pool of students who may bring more to the table than what you are bringing.

    The following is recommended as basic preparation for study at Princeton:


    four years of English (including continued practice in writing)
    four years of mathematics
    four years of one foreign language
    at least two years of laboratory science
    at least two years of history (including that of a country or an area outside the United States)
    some study of the visual arts, music, or theater.

    http://www.princeton.edu/main/admission-aid/undergraduate/requirements/

    If you have not completed this, it will be an uphill battle for admission to Princteon (or any other selective school) and the reason you should stay for senior year when your chances would be better.
  • PlateroPlatero Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you sybbie719. For the requirement of language, which not only Princeton but most of the other colleges require, do I have to take courses? In my case, I'm not taking any language. I won't be able to satisfy the requirement even if I do regular graduation. But Chinese is my native language, I'm so much better at it than most American students at their foreign language (I assume), if I take tests like SAT II Chinese or AP Chinese and get good grades, will I still be treated as a candidate without a language?

    Seems that most of you don't like the idea of graduating early. I'm 90% sure that that's what my counselor's going to sound like. I myself understand that regular graduation is the better choice, if i don't have this complicated situation going on...It's just, is it really that bad? If I get accepted into places like Chicago, Northwestern, Dartmouth, John Hopkins one year early, I'd be glad, not to mention I would still not have a very big chance at places like Princeton even if I stay for another year...What are my chances at those good but not top colleges?

    Also, the thing I'm most worried about now that regular graduation is the better choice--Will it hurt me if I didn't get into any desired college when applying early, stay in high school for another year, and then apply again as a regular senior? Will those schools discriminate me because I was rejected when I applied to them as a junior? Will I annoy my school, counselor and teachers by doing the same thing over?

    Thank you kwolfenden. Do you know if Early Admission has the same deadline and procedure as regular admission? (That's important to me too cuz I don't have much time.) but Look what I got on Princeton's website by searching "Early Admisssion". http://www.google.com/u/PrincetonNew?q=early%20admission&sa=Search+Princeton. Still a bunch of ED, EA things. But keep in touch-- hey, we're doing the same thing! Are you also a junior? sophmore?

    Thank you all. This is a real ehlpful place. I'm beginning to feel preppy. Haha
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Posts: 16,854Super Moderator Senior Member
    Some colleges offer early admission to exceptional high school students who wish to enter college on completion of their junior year. However these schools are few and far between. None of the schools you mentioned have a formal early admissions program so the school would have to see you bring something pretty exceptional to the table.

    I would recommend moving your question to the parents forum as there are a few parents (Marite & Soozie) whose children graduated a year earlyand were very successful in the college admissions process. Maybe they can give you some insight.
  • PlateroPlatero Posts: 158Registered User Junior Member
    Can I just apply for a few colleges for a try in Junior year, stay if I didnt get into a desired one for Senior year, and apply (to the same schools) again? Will they put me on the downside for I've been rejected as a junior? Will Ivies be too picky to take a senior who was once rejected as a junior? What about deferring admission? would that work in my case?
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