Q:

How do I graduate early from college?

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Quick Answer

For many, graduating early from college represents a significant financial advantage by reducing the amount of student-loan debt incurred. To finish college as quickly as possible, you need to create and stick to a plan that begins prior to enrollment. By taking advantage of extra and pre-enrollment credits and making wise use of your time, you can earn your degree at a U.S. college or university in less than four years.

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How do I graduate early from college?
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Full Answer

  1. Earn college credit in high school

    While in high school, take as many advanced placement (AP) classes as are available. Successful passage of an AP exam frequently earns college credit for that semester. Many schools offer high-school-to-college bridge programs, in coordination with local colleges and community colleges. One example is Washington State's "Running Start" program, which you can enroll in as a junior in high school and earn college credit. Either of these methods can enable you to enroll in a four-year university as a sophomore or junior at age 18.

  2. Create class schedules in advance

    Meet with an on-campus academic advisor at the college of your choice. Choose your major and degree type. Find out what credits are required. Map out a plan for how to take classes that fulfill those credit requirements. Using this information, write a class schedule for each term you need to attend.

  3. Exceed the full-time course load credit limit

    Enroll in more credits per term than the minimum full-time schedule. If you feel confident that you can pass all of the classes, consider signing up for credit amounts that your school considers "overtime." You can also enroll in classes during summer term.


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