How to Graduate Early from High School & Do a Trade or College Degree

Many children can finish or graduate early from high school and begin their trade or college degrees a lot earlier than most of their school peers. By doing so, these early school leavers can finish college or trade studies much earlier than normal. The trick is encouraging students to pursue the things they love and showing children they’re capable of doing many things they think they might not be able to do. By building their confidence, your learners rise to the challenge and gain a significant advantage over their high school peers.

In this article, we’ll look at how to graduate high school at age 16 (or earlier), the benefits of finishing high school early, and what to do after you’ve made this move. Let’s get started!

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

Start college early by finishing high school early. Learn how to do this here. #graduatehighschoolearly #howdoihomeschool

Benefits of Graduating High School Early

Many parents ask themselves, ‘Should I let my child graduate early from high school?’ Some feel they might be negligent and deprive their children of something vital the final year or two of high school offers.

But, there seem to be few disadvantages to finishing early and many good reasons to graduate high school early. These benefits include:

  • being able to finish a trade or college degree earlier than your peers to get a headstart on a career or business plans
  • not wasting ages 16 to 18 in unnecessary work
  • giving your children more motivating study as students usually choose their own trade or college degree
  • getting a financial headstart by saving earlier (as students finish tertiary education earlier)
  • spending more time on the entrepreneurial opportunity of their choice
  • a love of learning is promoted when students study what they love

Many children with special interests or giftings discover that finishing high school early is a good choice as they can get the academic challenge they longed for at school but never got. This is one of many reasons why I believe homeschooling is often better than school.

Disadvantages of Graduating High School Early

Are there some things you might miss out on if you finish or graduate high school early?

Some have proposed the following disadvantages:

  • If you love the social life in high school and you have many friends, leaving secondary studies will cause some pain; however, you’ll have to leave eventually, and you’ll soon find new friends that might be just as good in your upcoming tertiary study or work situation
  • You’ll miss out on activities that your high school offers; however, by pursuing a college, trade, or entrepreneurial opportunity, you can find even better activities that might suit your fancy more than limited high school opportunities.
  • You won’t be able to get high school credits if you leave early, but the benefit of leaving at 16 and getting a two-year headstart will usually far outweigh the credits high school will give you, as college won’t usually knock off two whole years from tertiary study.

Unless students love high school (for many reasons they might, such as the fun social life some schools have), finishing their studies early can be a good choice for many students.

Do I Have to Finish High School Completely to Start College in a Trade?

30 years ago, schoolchildren were motivated to finish Year 12 as they couldn’t enter (1) college without a Year 12 completion certificate or (2) a trade without a Year 10 completion certificate.

Today things are very different.

Many colleges allow students to start at any age, provided they prove they can do the work and pass the entry exams.

This means you don’t need to graduate high school to start college, but you can effectively be a drop-out or a non-graduate to start a college degree – so long as you pay the fees.

How Early Can I Graduate High School?

You can finish or graduate high school quite early, so long as you can continue your studies in tertiary education or pursue your entrepreneurial goals.

For example:

  • if you want to graduate a semester early from high school, you can do this by pursuing online schooling options (online schooling options often allow you to fast-track your studies and finish early. I was able to finish my Year 10 in 5 months and my Year 11 in 6 months) or
  • you can finish high school at age 16 or 17 without graduating and enter college or trade directly by enrolling in an online college or trade school.

Today there is no need for teenagers to slog through high school if they don’t enjoy it.

There are so many options that can satisfy adolescents who don’t feel that high school is a good place for them.

Discover how you can graduate high school early and finish college or a trade early. #graduatehighschoolearly #howdoihomeschool

Do I Have to Move Away from Home to Study College?

The great thing about many online colleges or trade schools is that you don’t have to move away from home early to study with them.

You can do some degrees completely at home.

Similarly, you can do many diplomas, masters, doctorates, and graduate certificates through online websites like EduRef.

Can I Graduate College at 16?

If you’ve ever heard about the rumors of homeschoolers finishing college degrees at age 16, you may have wondered if this really happened.

Could a student really finish high school at age 11 and start their college or trade careers then?

The phenomenon of homeschoolers finishing high school early is quite common.

My own brother, Neville, finished high school at age 15 and began online college classes a year earlier than most schoolchildren his age. He studied a Law/Economics double degree and finished college earlier than most of his peers.

I finished high school at age 15 and began working part-time and studying a nursing trade part-time. I then gained a trade diploma which I studied by moving away from home at age 17.

I graduated from my nursing diploma at age 18, being the youngest in my class.

This worked out well as I wasn’t interested in studying Year 11 or 12 but was very motivated to study a nursing diploma (especially as I was already working in the nursing field).

Eventually, I studied a Medical Science Bachelor and went into Medical school (which I discontinued after a year due to ongoing illnesses).

But, some homeschoolers start college much earlier and manage to finish their whole degree at age 16. 

The Harding family, who say there are no geniuses in their ranks, managed to send 7 of their homeschooled children to college by age 12 (the rest are too young to go to college at present but hope to follow the same path).

The family, whose graduates now include a doctor, engineer, and architect, claimed interest-based learning (that is, letting your children study what they love) accounted for their success in finishing college early.

Because they graduated early from high school, they could also graduate early from college. You can see their amazing story on Youtube below.

You Don’t Need to Go to College: Do THIS Instead

As I get older and see so many families sending thier children to college, I think it’s not the avenue of advantage it once was.

Once you could send your children to college and they’d be almost guaranteed a good job at the end.

These days, so many people go to college, graduate with a huge debt which puts them financially behind, and then fail to get a job for which they’ve trained.

For this reason, I often recommend going down the entrepreneur pathway.

If you don’t know where to start with this, read this article, and have a look at this article for some homeschool entrepreneur ideas and examples. It can be a great college alternative.

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There doesn’t seem to be many disadvantages to graduating high school early. These days a student can easily skip two unnecessary years of secondary education and enter college early. This isn’t a new idea, and many people, especially homeschoolers, get a start on their careers earlier than most. Finishing high school sooner than is normal offers students a host of advantages that makes one wonder why more people don’t pursue this option.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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