AP, Running Start, and Concurrent Credit Considerations

My high school allowed its students to take concurrent credit courses. What that meant was that if we paid for the college credit, we got college credits for some of our high school classes. I liked this idea, as did my parents, and I graduated high school with 33 credits of college credit. Similarly, with Running Start, and I believe that there are other state programs out there, you take college courses at your local community college for the last two years of high school. Then when you're done with high school, you've probably got an Associate's Degree under your belt.

And AP courses, with high enough scores, allow you to get a head start in college.

It sounds great to be able to save on college, and I do see the advantage of that in  an age where many students switch their major and take more than four years to graduate.

But from the other side, graduating college early isn't necessarily a good thing. I finished college in three years. One of which was at a 2-year college which I didn't try to like because I was only there to get credits before transferring. I was just trying to see what I wanted to do. And that was a cheap way to do that.

But that meant that I only spent two years at my dream school. Transferring in, you lose a decent amount of financial aid. So it's not going to be as cheap as two years for a student who started there.

It also meant that I graduated college at 20. Too young even to go to the first alumni event. (Okay, they said I could go, but it was a wine-tasting and I couldn't participate in that part of the event.)

I wish that I could have spent more time at my school. I loved it there. But I chose not to double major so I wouldn't have more debt. I chose not to study abroad for the same reason, I wanted to graduate. But as graduation loomed closer and closer, I began to freak out. I wasn't ready to graduate. Some people suggested graduate school, but that wouldn't be the same, my friends wouldn't be there. But it would put off adulthood for a little while longer. Same with Bible school and service organizations. I could go do something of that sort to make it so I was a bit older when I entered "the real world." But I chose not to.

If I could have changed my course, I'm not sure I would. Looking back I would have rather gone to the four-year school right out of high school, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to study and my mother was encouraging a medical program at a two-year school. So I think that the decisions I made made the most sense. I just want you to consider the ramifications of graduating early.

  • You have to start looking for a career in an economy that is tough.
  • You miss out on college experiences.
  • It forces you to grow up.

There are benefits to graduating early, but some of the consequences may not be worth it for everyone.


Do you have any similar experience with graduating early?