Early grads take advantage of school resources for advancement

The class of 2021 has faced what many would call an atypical senior year, dealing with cancellations of activities and events due to the worldwide pandemic. Since the year has already been non-traditional, some seniors are continuing that pattern in choosing a non-traditional graduation plan. 

Early graduation is an option that some seniors are taking advantage of this year. For some, graduating in January rather than May gives them an extra semester of time to work or get a jump start on their college career. Although this may seem like an obvious choice for many seniors, only three percent of high schoolers graduate early, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. 

Senior Lauren Wilson has known for a little while that she wanted to graduate early. “I decided to graduate early since I only had three required classes left, and I am super excited to go on to college. I felt like I needed a new challenge, and this gave me a good goal to push towards,” Wilson said. 

While the decision felt right after some time, Wilson said a lot of careful thought and planning went into the decision making process. “My parents are really excited for me to graduate early, and I definitely wouldn’t have done it if they were not OK with it. We had to have a lot of family discussions, and I personally had to pray a lot and make sure that it was the right decision for me,” Wilson said. 

For Wilson, prioritizing meetings with her guidance counselor helped to ease the process along. “In order to graduate early, I met with my counselor during my junior year. I told her that I wanted to graduate early, and she made sure that I had enough classes to do so, and helped me schedule in such a way that it would be doable. For example, I have to double up on English credits this semester in order to finish that requirement,” Wilson said. “One of the things that definitely helped me is formulating a plan of everything you need to get done, and meeting with your counselor multiple times to make sure that everything is in order. They’re more than willing to help you, and want to see you succeed.”

Although she is excited to graduate, Wilson said that she definitely will miss some aspects of being in school. “One of my favorite parts about the high school is definitely the band program. It has helped me make a lot of friends, and it has challenged me to push myself on a 

daily basis. I also love the flexibility of the high school; for example, this semester I am able to take a class online and go home to eat lunch,” Wilson said.

With her newfound freedom, Wilson said she plans to get a head start on her secondary education. “I plan on attending UNI to study biomedical biology on a pre-med or pre-physician assistant track. I am really excited.”

If students or parents have questions about graduating early, contact one of the counselors on the CFHS counseling website. 

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