Young female student thinking and smiling in class wearing drawn graduation cap

How I’m Graduating High School as a Junior (and You Can Too!)

You don’t have to be a genius to graduate high school a year early. With some careful planning, motivation, and these tips, you can make it happen.

When people first find out that I’m graduating high school a year early, they assume I must be a genius—but I’m far from it! In reality, my achievements are the result of simple, calculated steps involving determination, dual enrollment, and hard work. If you’re considering an accelerated academic plan, read on for tips that will give you some insight into my experience and how you can start.

Identify your goals

One of the most important factors in graduating high school early is knowing exactly what your intentions are. Do you want just enough credits to graduate, or will you put in extra work to meet university requirements? Are you planning to graduate a full year early or just a semester? In addition to questions like these, you should also have at least a general idea of what you plan to do after you graduate. Knowing your intended college major, for example, will be helpful in determining which classes you should take to meet the expectations of the program you transfer to after high school.

Related: Advice on Finishing High School in 3 Years

Make your intentions known

Graduating high school early is impossible without proper communication. As soon as you begin to consider an accelerated path, set up a meeting with your school counselor to develop an individualized plan of classes based on how many credits you’ll need. It may seem overwhelming at first, but having a clear plan laid out is way more effective than blindly taking classes that may not be best for you. Additionally, I highly recommend having a conversation with your family about your goals. The leap to graduate as a junior is a big one and, trust me, you’ll be grateful for their support in the long run.

Get dual enrolled

Dual enrollment classes have been a game changer for me in my quest to graduate early. Also known as dual credit courses, these are essentially college classes that are paid for by your school and count for both high school and college credits (as long as you receive a grade of C or higher). There are many different dual enrollment options, some of which may vary based on your location, so talk to your counselor to find one that works best for you. Personally, I’ve taken all my dual enrollment classes online through Cabrillo College and have found them to be an enjoyable challenge that has made all the difference in my early graduation.

Related: How to Ensure Your Dual Enrollment Credit Transfers

Take summer classes

I know the idea of continuing school through your summer break can be less than appealing, but it will make attaining this goal much easier. I recommend taking an elective class that interests you (ideally through a community college for extra credits) to stay academically active while also getting a bit of a breather from your least favorite subjects and busy schedule. Online summer classes are often self-paced, which means you wouldn’t even have class times—you’d only have to complete the coursework by the end of the class!

Find ways to de-stress

As someone who has a long history with anxiety, I found that preparation was key to reaching my goal without overexerting myself. The reality of graduating early is hard work, long nights, and weekends spent prepping for next week’s assignments. But having a list of de-stressing techniques at your disposal whenever you need them is super helpful to cope with the pressure. You could try baths, essential oils, yoga, or even (my recent favorite) knitting—anything that brings you peace and gives you the chance to wind down from school mode.

Related: Our Best Advice for Dealing With Stress as a Student

Graduating high school as a junior is a daunting goal, but once you know where to start, it’s not all that scary. If I can do it, I’m confident that you can as well. I hope you’ve found my tips helpful to kick-start your accelerated academic journey, and best of luck to you!

Graduating high school early means starting your college search early. Dive in quickly and easily using our College Search tool!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Hailey Myers

Hailey Myers is a homeschooled high school student from California. She's been drawn to literature and creative activities from a young age and is ecstatic to share what she knows with fellow students. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Ida Akoto-Wiafe

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

High School Class of 2022

I wanted a school that wasn't too far away from home and could provide me with a full-ride scholarship. CollegeXpress helped me put into perspective the money I had to pay to attend those schools, which ultimately drove me to choose to attend a community college first to get used to being in college before transferring to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the colleges I was able to research further on CollegeXpress.

Amari Toussaint

Amari Toussaint

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me narrow my school choices down from 10 schools to four and then two. It also gave me information on a school I had never heard about or thought about attending until now, which is the school I will be attending in the fall. I am thankful for CollegeXpress and its helpful tools.

Cameron Lee

Cameron Lee

High School Class of 2022

I used CollegeXpress to search for colleges. It helped me narrow down the schools on the West Coast and which schools had Construction Engineering programs. I made my decision to go to OSU and I am so excited about it.

Hannah Nelsen

Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce

High School Junior

College is a way of life that helps us find out who we are as a person, and CollegeXpress is a great way to stay connected with our future, even for students with little time on their hands due to the challenges of high school we face.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Suffolk University

Boston, MA

Kean University

Union, NJ

Angelo State University

San Angelo, TX