The University Network

Pros and Cons: Graduating College Early

You go from being a college freshman to a senior in the blink of an eye, but college goes by even faster for those who graduate a year earlier. Many students are starting to graduate college in three years, rather than the expected four. Depending on how many credits you have, students can graduate a semester, or even a year earlier. There is a lot of appeal to graduating early, however there are also a few downsides. The easiest way to graduate early is by transferring over your high school AP and/or IB credits, or, if your school gives the option, apply for an internship and get college credit for it!

➛ Go through the list of pros and cons and decide whether graduating early is really worth it!

Pros 

  • Save Money – The amount of money saved from completing university in three years is the main reason students decide to graduate early. According to College Board, students who graduate in three years save enough money from that one-year of private school to buy a new Hyundai Accent after paying their student loans. By graduating early from a private four-year university, you will save around $42,000 and approximately $18,000 from an in-state public university. College students may not be the ones to face the burden of college tuition, however it may put their parents on a financial strain. Students could use the year to travel and still wouldn’t spend the amount of the fourth year of college fees. If you are able to graduate university a year earlier and save a whole lot of money, then why not?
  • Get a Head Start on Jobs – By graduating a year earlier, you are getting a head start in the employment sector. You can use the extra year to get into the working routine and gain experience. Although competition is always high for permanent job openings, students who graduate early have additional time before their graduating class floods the job market. Furthermore, you would have an income period of a year more in your lifetime.
  • Build New Relationships – College is not the only place to build skills and relationships – there is life after college. In fact, you will have a greater array of opportunities once you have received a bachelor’s degree. Also, companies will begin to take you more seriously as a graduate rather than a student. Additionally, you will be pushed to your limits to build relationships outside of just your age group. 
  • Take Risks – Graduating university early will take you out of your comfort zone and push you to take risks. You might not be ready to tackle the world just yet, but now’s better than never. Finishing college and entering the adult world will help you realize all that you are capable of and give you time to explore so much in regards to the opportunities that are presented to you.

Cons

  • Missing out on the “traditional” four-year college experience – College is known to be the best four years of your life, so are you missing out if you graduate early? The typical college experience grants you the chances for study abroad, academic explorations, and time to bond with professors – and graduating early might get in the way of that. You won’t have time to explore “fun classes”, or for personal growth and discovery through study abroad programs. Furthermore, by graduating early you have less time to build up your professional life. This means less to add to your resume, applying and getting internships, getting involved in clubs, and much more. A normal college student wouldn’t have to worry about this until late sophomore year, however students who plan on graduating early have no time to mess around. Also, instead of enjoying your first two years of college, you’ll be busy stressing about whether your major will enable you to get a good job.
  • Not ready for the “real world” – Before deciding to graduate early, one thing you should be absolutely sure about is your major. Going out into the world earlier than your peers may lead you to question your major and regret the career path you’ve decided to follow. You will have less time to figure out your plans for the future and might be setting yourself up for something you’re not entirely ready for.
  • Lose touch with college friends – Once you graduate from college, your life is only going to get busier! You will be occupied with a job or trying to find a job, while your friends will be busy with their classes. Your schedules are going to be much different and you might lose touch with your friends.

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Ultimately, graduating early is a very personal choice. Overstressing and cramming classes isn’t effective, therefore finishing a four-year curriculum in three years might not be suitable for everyone. Graduating early may bring upon major responsibilities, which is why students should independently decide if they are ready to enter the employment sector or if they would like more time.

Ria is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Sociology. She enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time. She also has a bad habit of starting new tv shows at the most inconvenient times.