Monday, May 22, 2017

Should You Graduate Early?

Going to the University of South Carolina was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. It was challenging, rewarding, heartbreaking, and amazing. I never thought I would leave before my four years were up... but things change. I decided to graduate early in December of 2016, and since then I've had several people ask my opinion on it, and if I think it's right for them. Ultimately, I can't make that decision for them, but I can share my experiences! I've put together a short pro/con list that skims the surface of the decision to graduate early.

You get “ahead” // One of the benefits of graduating early is that you can get your unpaid internship sooner. Just kidding… for the most part. The major benefit of graduating early is that there’s less competition for jobs. Less people graduate in December, and most companies open up jobs during the first quarter. However, more jobs in the first quarter means more people leaving their jobs and applying for the same ones as you, just with more experience.

You can travel // If you’re not interested in going to work straight after graduation, graduating early means you can take a few months to travel around and not carry around the “stigma” of it. I’m 100% for travel whenever and wherever you can go, but SO MANY PEOPLE (cough, cough, baby boomers, cough) think you should go straight from graduating to getting a job to working for the rest of your life. If you choose to graduate a semester early, then there’s less pressure to get a job right away since the rest of your peers are still in class and not working either.

Money // Ultimately, money was the deciding factor for me. I was out of credits, feeling a little antsy, and decided that instead of using more of my college fund that I should save the money. I’m so thankful that I was able to graduate debt free and would have had leftover money even if I had decided to stay, but if you’re in a situation where money is tight, definitely consider leaving early.

More time to decide what comes next // Circling back to travel, taking a semester off or doing an unpaid internship after graduating early gives you time to realize what (or what you don’t) want to do. I’ve flip-flopped in my career hundreds of times since I graduated and although I still don’t know what I want to do, I’m glad I’ve had this time to somewhat figure it out.

FOMO // This is THE HARDEST PART of graduating early. The FOMO is so real, y’all. I luckily lived close enough to my alma mater that I was able to go back for big events, but that didn’t stop the feeling that I was missing out on great memories over the weekend or on a random Wednesday for trivia night. I wish I could say it got easier, but it didn’t really. And watching graduation… was especially hard.

Pressure is on // The opposite take to some of the pros… people assume that graduating early means that you have your sh*t together. And same with graduating in May, people (once again…. baby boomers) think that you should have a job at graduation or in the month after.

Always explaining why // Maybe this is just me, but after a while I got so sick of explaining to people why I graduated early. It was exhausting, and it felt like none of my answers were good enough for the people asking!

I don't regret graduating early. Sometimes do I think about what would have happened had I stayed and finished out the four years? Of course I do! But I knew that I was ready to take my next steps and I'm glad that I did.


  1. This is soo great for anyone debating graduating early! I graduated on time, but if I could have early I would have so that I had an even bigger head start on traveling! That's my passion now and it does save $$!

  2. I think early graduation really just depends on the person and their circumstances. It was something I considered early in college but then I transferred so that was out of the question for me. It sounds like ultimately it was the right decision for you- and that's awesome you still kept in touch with college friends!

    xoxo A

  3. Everyone always says college is the best 4 years of their life, but a lot of people seem to actually get it down in 3 or 3.5! Fomo would definitely be something to make you not want to graduate, but hard to argue when you'd be saving so much money if you did graduate early!

  4. I also graduated college early and had some similar experiences. I found the job hunt to actually be a lot more difficult than I expected. I thought graduating early would give me a leg up, but most companies weren't hiring until the spring when they knew most people would be graduating. I don't regret it at all. You just have to learn to answer the endless questions. As long as you come up with an answer you're comfortable giving over and over again, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks! It's your education. You own it!

    1. I definitely agree - it still took me a couple of months to find my part time internship! I for sure thought it was going to be easier than it was.

  5. These are all good points for sure! For me it was a logistical issue, I just wanted to enjoy the last bit of my freedom as a college student! Congratulations on your graduation!!

  6. I had a few friends who graduated early and I can imagine feeling like you are missing out of things. That would certainly be difficult.

  7. These are all such great points! I actually graduated late and wanted to finish as soon as possible!

  8. I graduated early and dont regret it! I did it for both my undergrad and masters!

  9. Graduating early is such an accomplishment! I would have if I could have!

  10. I could've graduated early from College if I wanted to, but I decided that I wanted to learn some more and savor the only time in my life that I could continue to do so!

  11. My friend graduated high school early and she said that it was so much work, but totally worth it! Congrats!


  12. This is great for those debating graduating early. A few of my friends did, and I know they felt it was the best decision.

  13. My best friend in college graduated early and had such bad FOMO, and it SUCKED not having her around. So from the perspective of your's SO HARD for them, too!

    Coming Up Roses


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