This is only my third year at Nyack College, but I will be graduating this upcoming May with a four year degree. I have been fortunate enough to save the time and money that would be required to complete two of the eight semesters that would usually be required to graduate from Nyack. It required a lot of extra work, but the rewards are worth it. This article is geared more towards people early in their college career or nearing the end of their time in high school, but anyone still involved in education can benefit from it. Graduating college early may prove difficult, but in the end the time and money you will save will make your efforts worthwhile.
The most important thing to remember when trying to graduate early is to get started early thinking about what is required to graduate. If possible, you should start thinking about college credits while you are still in high school. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other classes through my community college in order to earn college credits. Thankfully, all of them transferred to Nyack College. Earning credits like these can lighten your load when you actually get to college. Even if you are not offered the opportunity to take AP courses, there are often opportunities to earn college credits through your community college in other ways.
Next, decide early on what direction you want to take your education and where you want to end up by the time graduation arrives. Indecisiveness can add extra years and classes onto your college career. When you switch your major midway through your time in college, it requires you to do extra work to catch up to those who have been in your new major since freshman year. One of my favorite phrases is “Pick it and stick it.” In this situation that means to pick a major and stick with it until graduation. That means that you will need to make a wise decision when picking your major.
Finally, you will need to work hard. You may need to do a few eighteen credit semesters or overload on credits for a few semesters in order to meet your credit requirements in less than four years. Three of my six semesters at Nyack were eighteen credit semesters. You may also want to take classes during summer or winter break in order to get ahead with credits. Meet with your academic advisor to figure out how many credits you will need to complete in order to graduate and how quickly you can complete them.
Graduating early can be stressful, but it will be rewarding. If you are able, get started planning for graduation early on in your educational career. If you are already behind, do not be discouraged. There are still ways to catch up and possibly get ahead. Whatever you do, do not be dismayed. Determination and careful planning will put you in a position to succeed in your education.