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Graduating High School Early

kleinhenzkleinhenz Posts: 2Registered User New Member
edited July 2013 in Harvard University
Hey, I'm 16 and will be a junior in high school in September. I currently have enough credits to be a senior. By the end of junior year I will have taken 4 semesters of English. 6 semesters of science, AP bio, AP chem, AP physics. 3 semesters of math up to AP calculus. 3 semesters of Spanish up to Spanish 4. 4 semesters of social studies. I have been really involved in band. By end of next year I will have done Jazz band for 3 years, Wind Ensemble for 3 years, Pep band for 3 years, Pit orchestra 2 years, Orchestra for 3 years, Western International Band Clinic for 3 years, All-State band 1 year, Solo/Ensemble competition for 2 years. As you can see there won't be a whole lot for me to take senior year. I'm wondering whether it would be beneficial in college admissions to graduate early. If I stayed for senior year at high school I would probably be the student director for our band and president of a club which would be great leadership experience. I guess I'm wondering whether it would be better to graduate early and get kudos for academic drive or wait a year and have more leadership experience.
Post edited by kleinhenz on

Replies to: Graduating High School Early

  • PuzzlePuzzle Posts: 104Registered User Junior Member
    Stay in high school. You're only young once, and I don't think graduating early and leaving behind what sounds like an amazing school is going to be much of a plus in admissions.
  • welles10welles10 Posts: 831Registered User Member
    Most people who graduate high school early, or skip a grade somewhere in elementary school or middle school, come into college unprepared on a social level. A year may not seem like much, but it definitely shows. Stay in high school -- you will never be able to get that time back.
  • PeytonclinePeytoncline Posts: 2,465Registered User Senior Member
    Agree with both of the above posters: stay in high school.
  • amplifiar842amplifiar842 Posts: 707Registered User Member
    This is a tricky issue.

    I was so miserable at my high school, I took every graduation requirement necessary to be able to graduate early. I really, really, really wanted to get the heck out of there.

    But the thing is, the people above are right. Socially, someone who goes to college at an earlier age is often not ready for some of the issues they will encounter. My grandmother went to college at Agnes Scott a year early and said that she was very behind everyone else when it came to dating, partying, and even studying. My father went a year early to Harvard and while he never mentioned feeling too young, he was too into the party scene and got himself sent home for a semester. I look back on my experience and I am so glad I stuck it out in high school. No matter how miserable I was, I needed to wait. For a lot of people 18 is really still too young for college freedoms and independence.

    When I was preparing to graduate early, I met with my school's college counselor, who is a truly outstanding counselor and a former admissions officer at Wake Forest University. She suggested very strongly against my graduating early. She said that colleges do not regard these younger students as geniuses because they're leaving school early...she said they're not especially impressed that someone is coming to college at seventeen instead of eighteen. In fact, she says in a lot of ways it's an impairment and places the student below the others in the application pool, because they are considered on the same level as the seniors applying and they also have had one year less to improve on SATs, one year less to take SAT Subject Tests, and one year less to expand extracurriculars and wrack up awards.

    My advice is that if you plan to go through with this, at least think very, very, very carefully about it. Don't get angry at people telling you that you're "too young" or "not mature enough." They don't mean it to hurt you...they say it wanting the best for you. They don't want you to enter a battle weaponless...to take the exam of your life without studying...to be dropped in the wilderness without resources or a way out.
    I suggest toughing it out at school, throwing yourself into activities that you love, and appreciating the rites of passage of your senior year: prom, graduation with your class, class rings, "ruling the school." You don't become a senior just because you're graduating with the class above you...you're still a junior and you miss out on that special bonding year.
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Posts: 2,244Registered User Senior Member
    I get the impression that Harvard specifically dislikes applicants who have graduated high school early. Other schools (MIT comes to mind) are more open to this.

    *EDIT* Is there a "post secondary" option at your HS to enroll in college classes for part of the day? This might be a good compromise.
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    Well, my S skipped senior year of high school--he'd planned to do so ever since 9th grade. He just graduated from Harvard this month. A former schoolmate of his graduated from high school early at barely 16 and is currently at Harvard.

    The biggest issue is not academic preparedness but social maturity and self-reliance. Since you are 16 going into junior year, you'll be 17 going to college if you graduate early. That is not too young. My S did so, and so did I (though I did not skip 12th grade); and I was an international student to boot.
  • 88donothing88donothing Posts: 45Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you:) I know this is a couple of years old, but I'm going through the same thing now
  • BeliavskyBeliavsky Posts: 1,253- Senior Member
    As you can see there won't be a whole lot for me to take senior year.

    When someone is in the situation above, I think early graduation should be considered. Get on with your life.
  • EarthPigEarthPig Posts: 94. Junior Member
    Your chances of getting into a top college can be increased with the things you accomplish in your senior year in high school. Academically you may be ready (most kids who get into Harvard are academically ready by the end of their junior year), but your non-academic side can be built, and you will be more mature and ready for college, which is simply very unlike high school. High school isn't all about academics, and neither is college.

    As someone above mentioned, you can take some courses at local community colleges and 4-year colleges while in high school if you have completely exhausted your school.

    PS: I remember being at a large meeting run by a Brown admissions officer with kids from all over our area when I was looking at colleges (back in the Dark Ages). When asked about whether a student should graduate early, the Brown officer recommended against it.
  • Thefox25Thefox25 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    kleinhenz I went through the same predicament and paid the price. Spoiler Alert: Don't try to graduate early; you will only get screwed over and confused. No matter if you are a mature kid fully prepared to kill it in college, graduating early greatly diminishes your chances at a prestigious college. Honestly, right now you look as if you have a great hook for colleges. You have followed your passions and been successful (smart to boot). I'm not here to say that you have some existential problem you need to deal with, stemming from some Freudian psychology and mommy issues. I'm not even here to say you are naive or pretentious for considering the idea of getting out of high school a year early. What I am here for is to tell you about the underbelly of admissions for kids graduating early.

    The applicant pool for early graduates is very small. Only comprising sub-one percent of all applicants applying early DOES distinguishes you from the crowd. However, you are essentially competing against the 12 year olds featured on daytime news programs and kids who think they are too good for high school. Unless you are twelve and will bring in some human interest story and the money and promotion that comes with that, THEY DON'T WANT YOU. They don't want you because you are essentially 'jail-bait'. The entire collegiate system works on a coding base that assumes you are of age. This is what allows colleges to tell your parents that they cannot get involved (lawsuit or otherwise). Bringing a 16 year old into an environment that is known for drinking and large amounts of sex is a recipe for disaster (something like upside-down statutory rape cake, pineapple on the side).

    Similarly, if you are not applying to in-state schools and if in fact your plans at Ivys fall through you are left with what I can only describe as a cluster of a Junior summer. Your Junior Summer is important. It illuminates a lot in terms of interests and commitment. In your attempt to graduate early you will (whether you know or not) be considered a senior on your transcripts. What that means is that you will be unilaterally excluded from any summer programs. It happened to me with 3 of the 4 summer programs I was interested in right off the bat.

    Stay in school so that you may get into a college matching your amazing talents and insatiable personality. Do not short change yourself and follow bad advice like I did. Opportunities in your senior year open way up. Here are a couple tips to make your journey a little easier.
    I am almost 100% positive that it is a federal law that if you strip the curriculum at you school (meaning you have taken everything that they offer in a specific field) that they have to pay for online classes or other comparable extension classes at a community college.

    For Online Calculus look into the Kansas online program (for some reason it kills Hopkins CTY and Stanford EPGY) and for sciences I know Northwestern does a bunch of great stuff.

    Look into leadership. Get involved. Do things you have always thought impossible. Be the best person you can be without graduating early because the reality of the situation is that the world is not ready to accept you as a junior. You are moving too fast for the system. Once you get past this you are going to be on the fast track in life. Good Luck!
  • hawaii4lyfehawaii4lyfe Posts: 66Registered User Junior Member
    On a slightly different note, I would highly advise against applying early to colleges. Like most people say, you have an even lower than normal chance of getting in, so if you get rejected, you'll have to go through the process a second time. Which looks fine on paper, but my friend is going through the application process a second time and he absolutely hates it. He says that just having to repeat everything again and dealing with the disappointment is terrible. Unless you got like a gold medal in an international olympiad or something else that makes you guaranteed, don't do it.
  • sloan32sloan32 Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    I am graduating one year early from high school, and I believe I am not missing out one bit on my "senior" year! I'll be able to participate in prom and all the senior activities. I am really looking forward though to graduating to start my life. My high school grades have been A's i'm not academically WAY ahead of everyone but I believe I am ready for college. Don't let them discourage you with the negative talk, if you believe it is the right thing for you, then go for it!
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