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What steps do you have to take in high school in order to graduate from college in 3 years?

logiccolorlogiccolor Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
My 13-year-old son just started 8th grade a few weeks ago and even though he's still in middle school, we're already talking about his college plans. One of the things that would be really nice is if he could graduate in 3 years instead of 4. Obviously, in order for this to work, he would have to enter college with sophomore status which means he would have to have earned a year of college credit by the time he graduated from high school. He's probably going to graduate with about 9 or 10 AP classes under his belt, but many colleges don't accept AP credits. I know that taking classes at a local community college is also an option. If we take this route, how soon would he have to start at the community college and how many college classes should he take each semester? I am also aware that the universities in the UK are designed to take 3 years, so we'll also look at studying abroad.

Replies to: What steps do you have to take in high school in order to graduate from college in 3 years?

  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 9,185 Senior Member
    Depends on major and what he wants out of college -- probably neither of which he has a good idea of yet.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 12,879 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    Many colleges won't take community college credits - and some others may consider your child a transfer student, limiting his options. My recommendation would be to focus instead on the best education he can get in high school, and start making college plans in his junior year... when he will know a lot more about his interests and possible career options. BTW, there are many compelling reasons NOT to graduate in 3 years... getting a broad, multifaceted education and a college experience that could include, for example, study abroad, are just two of them.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 3,601 Senior Member
    If the goal is to finish in three years, you have to be willing to cross schools off the list that do not accept his AP or dual enrollment classes. In general, public universities offer more generous advanced standing credit than private ones, but this isn't an iron-clad rule. You need to investigate school by school.

    Do you know the major yet? Not all majors are available in three year degree programs.

    Here's an example

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 5,195 Senior Member
    If your reason to want him to graduate in 3 years is cost, then you are probably better off looking at universities that are reasonably priced rather than looking to graduate in three years. We have seen more than a factor of 4 difference between the least expensive and most expensive universities. Also, we have seen almost no correlation at all between academic strength and cost. Some of the academically strongest universities that either daughter got into were close to being the least expensive.

    The US education system puts an enormous amount of stress on our students. There are a LOT of cases of students suffering from serious stress related illnesses, and there are a LOT of high school students in the US (more than a million the last time I checked) being treated for stress related health problems. You will understand this more after watching your son and his friends and acquaintances go through 4 years of high school. I watched the movie "race to nowhere" twice -- once before either daughter started high school and again after they had both graduated. The first time I didn't really get it. The second time I went away with the reaction "yup, that is the US high school system".

    Given what we as a nation are already doing to our high school students, I don't think that your son needs the added stress of being encouraged or expected to graduate university in 3 years.
  • mjrube94mjrube94 Registered User Posts: 422 Member
    Two additional things to consider:

    1) He doesn't necessarily need to go in with sophomore standing. For each school he becomes interested in, check their policy regarding how many classes are covered by tuition. For example, most kids may only take 4 classes per semester, but the school will allow them to take 5 or 6 (sometimes with permission, or based on GPA) for the same price, in which case he could go in without APs and take extra each courses each semester.

    2) Some schools may not allow early graduation. My D is at Tufts and they explicitly say that they have an 8-semester requirement because they feel kids need to "absorb and reflect on the information" they're learning. (The cynic in me says it's so they can get 8 semesters of tuition, but that's another story). Regardless, there are very few exceptions to that requirement, so definitely check what each school's policy is.

    And while I assume and hope you're letting your son enjoy school and not stress about this stuff right now, I think it's great that you are considering all of the options so you can make sure you / he are best prepared.
  • gosmomgosmom Registered User Posts: 1,948 Senior Member
    what @thumper1 and @wis75 said.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 3,313 Senior Member
    You may want to look at UK schools as their standard time for college graduation is 3 years.
  • raclutraclut Registered User Posts: 3,899 Senior Member
    Frankly, I would just let your child experience being a teenager in high school and the full 4 year college experience. Being an adult comes with a lot of responsibilities and they have their whole life to work. You don't want a burnout high school student that can no longer focus on their studies. Look at the College Life threads. You will see a lot of kids that are stressed out and miserable. Your child's health, happiness, and well being is more important than anything else. I agree life is not a race. They have to enjoy the journey, not just focus on the destination.

    Your child just turned 13. They just became a teenager. Let them enjoy their childhood. Let them explore different hobbies and interests. Let them spend time with their friends. You don't want to have a child that will come to resent you later in life if they feel so much stress and pressure. Allow them to explore different career paths.

    When it is time to apply to colleges realize there are so many schools so don't get hung up on one dream school. We had three high school classmates take their life when they didn't get admitted to their dream school.

    High school years sometimes feels like a pressure cooker and it shouldn't be that way. Many kids are sleep deprived because they have too much on their plate. Teach your child ways to cope with stress. A child maybe academically very intelligent but may lack mental maturity that only comes with experience and age. The college years age 18 to 22 is a time of tremendous mental growth and experience with becoming independent. Teach you child to become an independent thinker so that they are able to make good decisions on their own.

    I wish someone had told me all these things when my own child was that age. I am sharing what I have learned from my own experience as a parent of a senior in college.
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