The Fast-Tracked Escape From High School

While we hear all the time from students that they cannot wait to get out of high school, some people are able to make their wishes a reality by graduating early. At Seven Lakes, some students have been opting into programs for early graduation, allowing them to get all their credits in three years, even though these programs come with their share of pros and cons.

“I’m choosing to graduate early because I want to study fields in computer science, specifically cybersecurity, that just aren’t available for me in high school,” a sophomore and future early graduate  said.

It’s also easier for some people to transition into an early graduation plan because of the progress they already have coming into high school.

“I chose to graduate early because I already had 5 credits coming into HS, so it was an easier transition for me,” sophomore Samantha Jong, who is also graduating early, said. “I also want the option of starting college earlier or taking a gap year to travel with my family.”

Since early graduates miss their senior year, they will need to get their college applications done in their junior year, which is often known for being the most stressful year of high school. 

“I’m planning to do most of my college apps over the summer and to apply to more target colleges to have a better chance of getting in, ”the student said. 

Clearly, the most important advantage to graduating early is the fact that one can graduate from high school a year earlier and get flexibility with the extra time gained in the process. 

“High school isn’t going to be the peak of my life, so I just want to get my education, get into a good college, and start doing what is actually meaningful and impactful to me. The freedom I get from graduating a year early is very appealing, and I want to gain new and exciting experiences,” Jong said. “Regarding the cons of early graduating, I get a lot of resistance and skepticism on my decision due to the fact that I would be missing out on the ‘high school experience’, but I beg to differ.”

However, missing a year of high school also comes with its disadvantages, especially when it comes to course load. 

“One big con is that you have to manage more classes at once. For example, this semester I’m taking 8 classes, and next year, I’m taking 6 classes in the first semester,” the student said. “Early graduation has made the courses I take more advanced, and I have had to go above in grade levels for certain subjects. For example, my early graduation plan has it so that currently I’m taking AP Physics 1 and Chemistry at the same time.” 

Regardless, Jong feels that the benefits of graduating early outweigh the disadvantages. 

“My course load is quite heavy, but I would be taking the same intensity of coursework as my peers even if I was graduating in four years,” Jong said. “Seven Lakes is a very competitive school, so graduating early does also affect my GPA because I have one less year to collect 5.0 classes like Infinity Stones, but I believe my extracurriculars and personal statement are strong enough to counteract the slight dip in GPA. Overall, the benefits of leaving a year early absolutely outweigh the sacrifices from my perspective.”

Graduating early, with all its quirks, is regardless a lesser-known concept in our school and among students in general. However, it may actually be a practical goal for many students.

“If I was to graduate in four years, I would be taking the same exact courses, just with some filler classes as well,” Jong said. “I think many people don’t even know that it’s an option for them, but graduating early is actually very attainable for a lot of Seven Lakes students.”