Graduating early?

Hello all! This is my first post after lurking for several months. My DS is a high school sophomore who could graduate after his junior year. He does not like school. He doesn’t hate it, he has good friends and is happy, not bullied or anything. Just bored mostly. I would imagine not alone in this among high school kids.
Because he’s accelerated in a couple classes, at the end of his junior year he would fulfill all the graduation requirements and would have completed AP physics, AP calculus BC, and AP Spanish. His social studies and English progression wouldn’t be quite as strong.
He is old for his grade and will turn 18 the summer after junior year.
What should we consider when we talk about this option with him?
Given his school, we anticipate he’ll have very close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA. Given some testing history, I think he’ll test pretty well. I’d say 32-34.
He wants a gap year or a small LAC near a big city with good study abroad. He is undecided what to study but he enjoys math, problem solving and being creative. The only reach school he’s interested in now is Georgia Tech. We are OOS for that.
Advice? Thoughts? Schools he might like?

Hi there! I am planning to graduate this year as a junior, but my plan is to go straight to university. Early on, I came on this forum looking for advice and found that 99% here don’t think early graduation is good. I think this decision should be up to your son. Absolutely let him know that it’s an option. I hadn’t even considered graduating early until my older sibling (a grown adult, not just any other teenager) brought it up.

For me, my school will force me graduate after this year once I complete all the graduation requirements. Check with your son’s school to ensure he has the option of staying for another year if things change. Otherwise, he needs to commit and find a plan.

I can’t really say what schools he’d like based on your provided info, but make sure that there’s a good mix of safeties, matches, and reaches. If he plans to apply to college this year, keep in mind that he’ll really need to work hard to show he’s mature enough and just as qualified as any other applicant. This can be proved in most parts of the application. I tried my best to take a very heavy course load (relative to other students at my school) and get relatively high standardized tests scores. I am currently working on my essays and hopefully those will show admissions officer that I am ready for college.

I also don’t enjoy high school very much. Most of the students at my school aren’t motivated to learn and the non-competitive environment makes our classes drag. I don’t feel very challenged by even some of the “toughest” APs that are offered. A lot of my most valuable education comes from the community college courses I take on the side. I’d much rather be a full time college student and attend a university with more academic opportunities. I am also graduating early for some personal reasons. No matter what, make sure they have a strong reason to graduate early – it should be explained in their college apps.

Holding him back to graduate from HS in four years may not be best for him. However- check on a potential senior year schedule. Would he be better prepared for a college most appropriate for his ability with more AP courses and stronger nonSTEM skills? He may be ready for college math/science classes but he is unbalanced and focusing on strengthening his less preferred areas is something a fourth year of HS will benefit him in.

I found out years later how bored my gifted son stated he was in HS. In his time there was not the online learning available and, btw, he was ahead of his age, turning 16 the fall of his HS senior year.

You can’t turn back the clock for the decisions about when to start school back when he was young. I would have him give serious thought and report concrete plans for any gap year. How intellectual would it be? He definitely would fit into the age cohort for college. But- would it be better for him to hone skills to be able to attend a school where his peers share his abilities moreso?

This month is a good time for him to do the research and report back to you on pros and cons of his options. He’ll have the time to do it and still have time for college applications if that is the preferred path. In particular have him look at the desired proficiency in language arts and social sciences. Is he willing to work harder at those in order to be done with HS a year sooner?

One size never fits all. There is only a best fit, not a perfect fit. There is no rush into the future and adulthood but there is also no reason to be mainly bored. Add my quickly written comments to the others. Good of you to pick various brains.

My son went for it, and then 2 of his friends did too. It would be great if your son has tests taken in sophomore or early junior year. When you know n advance, you have time to ask for recommendations from teachers and the GC. We had one night to get forms etc ready, and a favorite teacher couldn’t write in one night.

There’s no perfect answer here. There’s a good chance you won’t get into quite as good a college as you would have if you had stuck it out for another year, but that is not written in stone by any means. If you are organized enough to get it all figured out this year, you are probably ready for the next step. Good luck!

Given the age, gap year plans, and college goals it sounds like early graduation is the best thing for him.

Since he values the opportunity to study abroad, you might want to consider a foreign exchange experience for the gap year.

Oh and for what it’s worth I graduated young and took a gap year with an immersion experience in France. It allowed me to mature, to be able to take more advanced French courses, to do senior thesis research one summer in France and to get to know a prof better when I translated a short book for him. It also, interestingly enough, seemed to make German much easier to learn. Apparently once I got the knack for learning one foreign language I was much better at making the connections in a different one, even though German is not a Romance language.

Definitely consider a student exchange program…he will get that extra year of maturity.
Also why not do dual enrollment and get a free year of college classes?

“He wants a gap year or a small LAC near a big city with good study abroad. He is undecided what to study but he enjoys math, problem solving and being creative.” That’s all a bit vague.

He’ll grow this year. It helps to have ideas more formed, some idea of major, and have a record of ECs, including related to that possible major, before deciding to leap to college just because he has enough credits to get the hs degree. You can certainly explore the possibility, in case this makes sense. But it feels very early to count on it.

It’s tough to choose a college, eg, just for being small and having study abroad. Encourage him to experience more, use the time to challenge himself in various ways, including some “sideways.” He may develop some distinct interests and you may want him fully prepped for a list of colleges “right” for him and where he’s best prepared.