It may seem like a very odd question. While most people want to graduate college as quickly as possible, some people doubt whether graduating college early is worth it. In a world where most college students seem to thrive to graduate as soon as possible, some of you may wonder, is it actually best to graduate college early?
For the most part, graduating college early is not bad. It’s rather very beneficial. Though, there are a few things you need to think about if you plan on graduating early.
Perks of graduating college early
As the year passes, most things in life get more expensive, especially college tuition. According to Education Data, the average cost of college in the United States is $35,331 per student per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses. They also found that the average cost of college has more than doubled in the 21st century, reaching an annual growth rate of 6.8%. Imagine the things you can do with that money!
It’s not only about saving money but also avoiding student debt. This issue is so bad that most people call student debt a crisis in the US. CNBC reported in 2020 that about 44 million Americans collectively have over 1.6 trillion dollars in student debt. Repaying student debt is another issue. Some student loans take 7 to 10 years to be paid back, yikes.
Time is money. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. As explained above, cutting your time in college saves you so much money. There are two other things you’ll save your money and time from.
A chance to grow academically quicker
If you have plans to continue your studies and take your master’s or even doctorate degrees, graduating college early is definitely beneficial, so you wouldn’t spend your entire 20s completing your studies (well, there’s nothing wrong with that). Especially for college students in the medical field, graduating earlier is definitely appealing.
A quick headstart to your career
You may have a part-time job or maybe your own business while in college, but graduating will help you give your full focus on your career. If you have any career goals, graduating college early will get you more time to start whatever you want to do and make money quicker. By graduating earlier, you spend less money on tuition fees and generate more income.
Opportunity to do what you want
You don’t have to graduate early to continue your studies or quickly get a full-time job. Let’s say you manage to graduate in three years from your four-year undergraduate college program; you can use that extra year to do whatever you want. You can take that time to relax and travel. Because once you start being an actual adult and have a full-time career, your travel opportunities will be very minimal.
Possible disadvantages of graduating early
Not experiencing college life to the fullest
For many people, college is the best time of their lives. Sure, it may not always be roses and rainbows, but college experience is most likely to be the most memorable. Even trying to graduate early may cause you not to live your college life to the fullest; you may spend most of your time studying and taking all the classes you’ve cramped to graduate quicker. Not to forget the stress you’ll experience from that.
Graduating early means leaving your college friends. You will miss out on the opportunity to experience graduating with the friend group you love; no Instagram pics of wearing your graduation cap and gown with your friends.
You may miss out on possible new friendships and even romantic relationships! College time is usually the time you reinvent yourself, discover your personal and sexual identity, know what you want, and many more. Attempting to graduate early may prevent you from truly taking the time for self-discovery. Sure, you can still have fun as a working adult, but definitely not the college fun kind.
Missing out on academic opportunities
There are a few academic-related things you may miss from graduating early. Since you are cramping all your college classes, you may not perform academically as well as you want due to the pressure, which affects your GPA. You may also miss research opportunities with your professors. This is especially if you plan on continuing your education or becoming a researcher; having research experiences and even published papers can be very useful. Lastly, you may miss internship opportunities. Some universities don’t make internships mandatory which makes it possible for students to not take any internships to graduate quicker. Skipping internships may cause you to miss out on potential job opportunities or make it harder to find a job due to a lack of working experience.
Not ready for true adulting life
Not saying that you are not an adult in college, but being out there in the real real world is a different experience from being a college student. Because when you graduate early, most likely, you are still in your early twenties. You may not be emotionally ready to face the challenges you may face as a non-college student. It’s best to graduate early when you know what you want to do as you graduate and get as much experience as you can in your college life.
To summarize, graduating early will benefit you financially, but you might be deprived emotionally from the lack of true college experience. Graduating early may be tempting, but for sure, it isn’t for everyone. Only graduate when you are confident in your life plans post-college. Don’t feel like you have to match your life pace with others. It’s okay to take your time and make the best of your college experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is graduating college early worth it?
Yes! You’ll save a lot of money and time by graduating college early.
- At what age should you finish college?
Traditionally, people finish college at the age of 21 or 22. But it’s possible, and it’s okay to graduate earlier or later than that.