Graduating from college early isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to, it can be done! Personally, when I chose this route for myself, I didn’t know how to succeed at doing so. But with a little time and a lot of help, I learned how to make it happen. And so, now I am here to provide tips and tricks on how other students can do it too.
Let’s face it, college is expensive, especially if you’re taking out loans to help cover the cost. In some ways, graduating early will help lighten the expense, but it will take some serious planning to do so. It becomes cheaper when you no longer need to pay for student housing, a food plan or the extra fees you pay per semester. When graduating early, you also have less time. That is why both planning and budgeting are so crucial.
When I was in college, graduating early wasn’t originally in the plan for me. I didn’t know this was possible until my first semester of junior year. When this idea came to light, my advisor helped me schedule out my credits. These weren’t set in stone, but it allowed me to see how many classes I would have to take each semester - in order to make my goal of graduating early happen.
If you are graduating early, you might be doing so to get a jumpstart on your career. Oftentimes, colleges will have an office for career coaching. Although services may vary, this is usually the place where you can go for creating and building your resume, cover letter and work on your interview skills. When I decided on my career path, I found it important to set up a meeting with my career coach each semester. Like my advisor, my career coach helped me plan out and move forward with my goals. That way, when I did graduate, I was all set up for my next step.
One way you can build college credit and career experience is by interning. When I interned, I earned credit by the number of hours I worked. So, for me, this meant doubling down on hours, so I could gain both experience for my resume and additional college credits. Bonus tip: At my college, interning was free! So, although I was earning credit for these hours, I didn’t have to pay for them. Check with your college to see what their policies are.
For all college students, time management is key. But, for those graduating early, using your time wisely is extra essential. Beyond planning, budgeting and working with your schools’ staff, it is important to save time for both your school work and life outside of college. Managing your time will help you focus, study and prepare for the semester ahead.
Above all remember no matter how long it takes you, graduating college is an accomplishment you should be proud of!
About the author:
Alyshia is a freelance writer, inspirational speaker and soon-to-be college grad. Her work has been published in magazines like Girls’ Life and by businesses such as Bossbabe and ThredUp.