5 Reasons To Graduate College Early

by Kat Kuehl

Between rising costs of tuition and the ever-changing job market, it seems like a huge accomplishment to graduate from college within four years, and the idea of getting out of college ahead of schedule might sound pretty much impossible. Besides, why would anyone want to leave a life of classes and partying early? But, if it's something you can manage, there are actually plenty of great reasons to graduate from college early.

With a lot of careful course planning — and logging some classes over summer and winter breaks — I was able to finish my college education in three and a half years, rather than the standard four. I decided to kick my education into high gear for a variety of reasons, with probably the biggest of those being I couldn't wait to finally be done with school and "get my life started." Cliché, right?

Of course, now that I'm pretending to be an adult out in the "real world," there is a small part of me that wishes I would have stretched out those last few credits, and enjoyed the college lifestyle a little longer. But, even so, there were still plenty of perks that came with graduating early.

Thinking about escaping your college campus ahead of time as well, but aren't sure if it's the right choice? Here are a few benefits to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

1. It's an impressive accomplishment to share with prospective employers

Obviously, working your way through a college education requires a lot of hard work. But doing it at warp speed? That's extra impressive. Getting out of school early will show prospective employers that you're motivated, organized, and willing to work your booty off. Plus, even if potential employers aren't impressed, you can bet that at least your parents will be proud. Mine still brag about the fact that I graduated early, and I finished college almost four years ago.

2. You'll probably save some money

College is expensive — ridiculously expensive. Even though graduating ahead of time likely still means you're paying for the same number of credits, you are able to save yourself some cash in other areas. Whether getting out of school early means you're cutting out your room and board expenses, meal plans, or that regular Wednesday night beer (OK, beers) at the local college bar, you're bound to save some money somewhere. I still came out ahead financially, even though my winter and summer courses cost a little more.

3. You can beat some of your competition in the job market

If you're graduating a semester early, that probably means you're finishing school in December rather than May. As we all know, summer graduation ceremonies bring a huge rush of recent grads to employers. But, December is a little more sparse. You might have an easier time getting your resume to the top of the pile when employers have fewer candidates to sort through. It can't hurt, right?

4. You'll have time to take a break if needed

College can be exhausting, and you might want time to decompress and recharge after graduation. In fact, many students opt to take a semester break following commencement, even if they didn't finish school ahead of schedule. But by graduating early, you have the advantage of being able to take some time off without actually "losing time." However, if you decide to use that time off to go on a lavish adventure through Europe, you can probably kiss that saving money perk goodbye.

5. You can take your time with grad school entrance exams

Perhaps you're planning on going to grad school. Finishing school early means you can take that extra semester to visit potential grad programs, fill out those pesky applications, and focus all your attention on grad school entrance exams. This not only gives you a leg up on the competition, but also more time to find the program that's perfect for you.

Images: mic wernej/Flickr; Giphy (5)