College is meant to prepare you for the real world, but what happens when you cut that time short? You have to consider the financial ramifications, the effect it’ll have on your relationships with your friends and/or significant other, and how it’ll affect your mental health before you can put anything into motion. So before you start loading up on credits, take a look into this break down of how graduating early from college could affect different aspects of your life.
Financially, yes, it’s worth it to graduate early from college. By graduating a year or even a semester earlier, you’ll be saving yourself or your parents from having to pay thousands of dollars in tuition plus room and board. This will give you a small leg up as you enter the workforce with a slightly smaller amount of student loan debt than you would have had. Graduating early will also seriously help you with securing a job once you get out—you’ll be entering the workforce months before your graduating class, so there will be fewer graduates applying to the jobs you’ll be applying to. Graduating early in general will also make your resume stand out, as it shows your future employer you’re clearly a determined and driven worker.
Now, in terms of relationships, it doesn't seem to be worth it to graduate early. You will be missing out on your last semester of senior year and have to watch your friends post about all parties they go to, what bars they’re drinking at, and more, which can cause major FOMO. Depending on how long your drive is back to your college, you might not be able to see your friends that often, which means you’ll have to have long distance relationships with them over Facetime or Skype. If both sides put in equal effort into the friendships, you’ll be able to stay updated on your friends’ lives. One of the most difficult long distance relationships you’ll have to maintain will be with your significant other if you met them at the college and they are still a student, but it can be done! You both have to actively be communicating with one another on a day to day basis and take an interest in what the other is doing, even from hundreds of miles away.
Mental Health Side
Considering your mental health, it may or may not be worth it to graduate early. If you’re taking 18 to 21 credits a semester and you’re finding that you don’t even have time to sleep or study and your grades are dropping because of this, it is certainly not worth the stress to force yourself to graduate months or years ahead of time. If you can handle a huge workload every semester or you’re consistently taking winter and summer classes to space out your credits to make the graduation cut, then totally go for it! Some people can handle taking a lot of credits at one time and some can’t—don’t fret, it just depends on the person.
After you’ve considered all of these different angles to the situation, it’s up to you whether or not graduating early is right for you. Just make sure at the end of the day that you know you will be happy with your choice and that it’s the best path for you to start your future career after college, whether that involves you going straight into the workforce or off to graduate school.
Sarah DeLena is currently studying for her masters in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to become an editor of YA literature, her favorite genre, own at least two golden retrievers, and further the legacy of the Oxford comma.