On Saturday, I will walk across the stage at graduation and receive my Bachelor’s degree. I am graduating a semester early, though my education isn’t quite finished—I’ll hopefully start a Master’s program in the summer or fall of next year.
Like everything in life, there are benefits and disadvantages of graduating early.
For those who are looking to go straight into the workforce, it’s definitely a positive. But students who want to continue their education right away might have more difficulty deciding whether to get their diploma early.
Possible Pro: Renewed Motivation
Graduating a semester or even a year early and taking some time off from school can give you a chance to recharge your batteries before going back to the land of note-taking and studying.
Possible Co: Difficulty Returning
One of the possible downsides is that you may find it difficult to return to school, but it’s also possible that you’ll be even more motivated to return to your studies!
Possible Pro: Saving Money
Taking several months off will not only save you money in undergraduate tuition, but will also give you a chance to earn money to be comfortable in graduate school or at the very least reduce the amount of loans you’ll have to take out.
Something to Consider: Availability of Graduate Programs
However, if you’re committed to starting a graduate program immediately after getting your undergraduate degree, it might be worth it to pick up a minor or turn a minor you’re already working on into a second major. The options for grad programs for December graduates may be more limited since many only have options to start in the summer or fall.
If you have lots of friends who will be at your school for another full semester before graduating, it’ll be hard to leave them in December. I’ve realized that I’ll miss the people I’ve met here in college more than anything else about the school or the town.
Something to Consider: Where to Live
Of course, your living situation is another factor to consider when thinking about your graduation plans. I will be living with my parents before starting graduate school, but that’s not an option for everyone.
You could always stay in your college town and room with friends while working during the spring semester, which have the added bonus of keeping you close to people you may not be quite ready to part with. This also makes a lot of sense if you want to attend graduate school at the same school where you earned your undergraduate degree.
Focus on a Talent
There are ways to spend your time between college and graduate school other than working full-time. If you have a little money saved up, you might be able to travel or work on something you’ve always wished you had more time to do, like art, music or writing.
If you’re able to graduate early, you’ll have plenty of options you have for what to do between graduation and future schooling. No one is right for everybody, of course.
If you do choose to finish school early before going on to graduate school, you will definitely be able to figure out the best path for you with so many available options.