Graduating Early: Key Tips And What To Know

By Ashley Paskill on February 22, 2022

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Congratulations! After working hard, taking extra credits during the semester and even over the summer, and sacrificing so much, you are graduating early! This is quite an accomplishment, as many do not graduate early. But what now? What comes next for you? Before you graduate, there are some things you should do to make sure you are able to celebrate your accomplishment.

Pros of early graduation

If you are weighing whether or not it is worth graduating on time, take a look at some of the positives that can come from it. Graduating early means you will have some extra time to study for grad school entrance exams without having classes and other activities get in your way. You will be able to save on tuition and make money sooner, meaning that you will pay off your student debt quicker if you have any. You will also have time to do other methods of learning such as the Peace Corps or Teach for America.

Cons of early graduation

There are pros of graduating early, so obviously there will be some cons as well. Some grad schools like to see internship and student organization experience, but if you spent all of your time taking classes and skipping out on these extracurricular activities, you may find yourself struggling to compete with other applicants. Not only will this impact grad school, but it impacts your overall experience in college. The earlier you graduate, the sooner you will have to pay off your student loans. This can be daunting if you do not have a job lined up yet.

Image: Gift Habeshaw via

Credit requirements

Before graduating, be sure that you have all of the credit requirements that you need to graduate. Check your course of study to make sure an extra elective was not forgotten about. Meet with an advisor to plan your last semester, as your advisor will be able to do a thorough look to see what you may be missing. You do not want to get to graduation and not feel accomplished just because you have one extra class to do.

Graduation check

The graduation check is one of the most important steps in graduating, especially early, as this will give you the information you need in order to be prepared. This check will confirm that you are on your way to graduation in terms of classes and credits. This will also give you a chance to get important information about graduation such as how many tickets you receive and even the date. You will have time to ask questions about any lingering problems you come across and will get information about your cap and gown.

Check in with yourself

You may have everything in order to graduate, but you may not be quite ready to graduate yet. Your friends may be graduating a semester later and if you planned on all graduating together, you may decide to stay. You may not be quite ready for the next chapter of your life yet, and that is okay and normal. See if there is a way to pick up a double major and still graduate the next semester. While graduating early is a huge accomplishment, so is graduating in general. Your achievement of graduation is not diminished simply because you chose to not graduate early.

Prepare for life after graduation

While graduation is a huge milestone, it does not mean your life is over and you can simply stop. After graduation, you still have to get a job, pay off any student loans, and even go to grad school if that’s the best option for you. Learn how to make and budget your money so that you can move out on your own and pay off your debt. Look into what is required for grad school programs within your concentration and start preparing your application and studying for entrance exams. You should prepare for life after graduation before you even graduate so that you are ahead of the game and are not scrambling to get things done.

Celebrate your accomplishments

Graduation is a time to celebrate all you have achieved in school. You sacrificed so much to get your degree and you have spent countless hours in class, studying, and completing projects. Before you embark on your next chapter, be sure to take time to celebrate all you have done and all you will do in the future. Consider throwing a graduation party or going out to dinner with friends and family. There is work to be done after graduation, but be sure to take a few moments to express gratitude to all who have supported you along the way and celebrate what you have done. You deserve to be celebrated for all you have achieved.

Graduating early may not be for everyone, but if you do decide to graduate early, be sure you are prepared with all you have to do leading up to the big day.

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