By Kristina Drendel
I think that it would be safe to say my college experience has been anything but orthodox. Between taking AP classes in high school, going to community college, and now trying to carry on in a school located within a city ravaged by COVID-19, these past three years have hardly resembled my siblings’ college experience. Even with all the craziness, I still feel sad that my college years are coming to a close. I made the decision to graduate early almost two years ago, but I still feel like I might be missing out. Of course, this feeling has been exacerbated by COVID-19 completely changing how my senior year will look. Nevertheless, I wanted to put my thoughts into writing to help other people decide whether graduating early is the best choice for them.
You will almost always be at max credit hours (or above): This might seem fairly obvious, but oftentimes people forget what this really means in terms of coursework. Taking more credits means more courses, which also usually means that you will have to spend more time doing homework and studying. In my personal experience, I never felt like I was taking too much at a time, but this is also likely due to my major. Taking on more courses as a theatre major is vastly different from taking extra coursework as a biomedical engineering major. If you are considering graduating early, don’t forget to take YOUR major into account.
You won’t always be able to take classes in their “proper order”: What I mean by this is that some classes are meant to be taken in a certain order: i.e. Directing I and Directing II. However, since you have chosen to complete your degree in a shortened period of time, scheduling might not work out this way. I have had to take several classes concurrently that were supposed to be taking throughout consecutive semester. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it can be challenging to separate the information at times.How
Fewer student loans: Here we come to the main reason I chose to graduate early: saving money. I have absolutely adored my time at my college but with my major, spending a ton of money just wasn’t feasible. Choosing not to stay for an extra year or semester means you don’t also have to take out loans to pay for that time period. I personally believe this is the biggest perk of graduating early.
You can start on a master’s or professional degree earlier: When I was a freshman, I really thought doing a double major was the best choice for me. However, after my first semester of my sophomore/junior year, I realized completing a double major would have kept me at school for at least another year, if not more. Graduating with only one degree would allow me to complete a master’s degree in the same amount of time it would take to complete a double major.
Choosing to graduate early is a very personal decision, and ultimately the only person who knows what’s best for you, is you!
Edited by Jenna Fults