Hi everyone. I would like your advice about graduating a semester early, from the perspective of parents. I am at a top 10 school with no financial aid, which means a semester of tuition is a considerable amount.
I feel there is definitely a negative stigma against graduating early. Advisors I have talked to on campus have not been very encouraging. They say that you’re only an undergrad once in your life, and that there’s many opportunities I would miss in that last semester.
But because I have taken heavy courseloads in the past, I will still have taken as many classes as others do in 4 years (and I’m not counting AP credits). I will also still be able to complete two honors theses with two different departments. Overall, I feel I will still have had as fulfilling of an academic experience in 3.5 years as most do in 4 years.
I do love being an undergrad, and I love taking courses. My parents are not pushing me to graduate early, and I know they would pay for the extra semester if I asked. However, I also know that my tuition is definitely a burden on them. (For complicated reasons, my financial aid does not reflect my true financial situation. I have tried appealing it, but was unsuccessful.) Seeing as my parents sacrifice a lot for me, I want to help them out. Especially as I can graduate a semester early and still accomplish all of my academic goals (major, minors, honors theses, and pre-med coursework), I almost feel like it would be the morally responsible thing to do. And like I said, I would still graduate feeling academically fulfilled.
In my semester off, I would probably take on a job, or if I cannot get a job, an internship. I could stay near campus so I could still keep up with my extracurricular involvements/volunteering if I wanted to. I eventually plan on applying to medical school, though I’m not sure if I will take a gap year or not.
Regarding my personal situation and from your perspective as parents, what do you think of me graduating a semester early?