3 years ago
Admissions Advice

I want to graduate early

I'm starting 9th-grade later this year, and I've always wanted to pursue a career in medicine. And since the pathway to becoming a doctor is a long practice, I wanted to graduate high school early so I can get a head start. I'm thinking of taking college classes and more AP and honors classes, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to digest all the information that I need because I'm trying to graduate earlier than my peers. It's like a debate inside my head right now. On one hand, I want to graduate early and start my career in medicine. On the other hand, I want to graduate with all the information that I need in my head. Even though I'm just going into high school, I'm already kind of stressing out about the classes and credits that I need. So please, if anyone has any advice or any similar experience that I mentioned, please educate me:)

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@curlyheadgirl673 years ago

If I was you I would be very organized and don't let the stress be too overwhelming. And when you are doing homework make sure there are no distractions around you.

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4 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

First off, welcome to College Vine!

Next, from another future doctor, graduating early is a TON of work. I'm graduating this December, only a semester early. Whether it's worth it is entirely a matter of opinion. I'm personally conflicted because I am happy to be finishing highschool soon, but it was also really hard and stressful. Here's what I've learned, hopefully it helps you!

Your heavy course load combined with extracurriculars leaves very little room for anything else. School will be your social life, and your free time will be spent taking naps.(trust me on that one...)

You will not get perfect grades, even if you study really well. Unless you have a superhuman memory, unlike myself, it's just not possible to remember the quantity that you're learning. You will do a lot of cramming before tests.

AP, Honors, and Dual Enrollment classes are harder, and there is less teacher guidance, you have to do a lot of work on your own. That makes a big impact when you're trying to fit in more work.

For the good stuff:

You're spending fewer years in school, which is awesome no matter how you slice it.

Your study group is like your second family, and they can be a huge source of encouragement when it gets tough.

The amount of satisfaction you feel for working that hard and seeing results is incomparable.

Lastly, colleges will love to see how motivated you are!

Ultimately, this is a matter of personal choice. I can't say I'm sorry I made the choice to graduate early, but there are times I wish I had "the highschool experiences", prom, friends, dating etc.

I'm happy to answer any questions if you have any, good luck this year!

3 years ago

I would not recommend to anyone to graduate early or to skip a grade unless you are a certifiable genius and have exhausted all the most challenging APs/IBs/Dual Enrollment etc that was available to you. I watched a video today about an applicant that was accepted into Harvard and Columbia one year earlier because she skipped a grade. After she revealed her 99% SAT score, perfect 4.0 UWGPA, her 10 APs, 8 dual enrollment classes including 4 additional Calculus classes Calc 1,2,3, and Differential Equations, all her independent research, her spikes of dance and piano, I understood why her HS counselor told her to skip a grade.

Most HS students are not on that trajectory even if they are top students destined for great colleges and careers. Most HS students need their full 4 years to make sure their college application is competitive enough to get into their schools of choice.

Since being a doctor is one of the most difficult degrees to pursue, it's super competitive already just to get into a pre-med track at a top teaching university. And if you are applying to Brown or another BS/MD program the admit rates are even lower at 2% or less.

My biased view is that if one wants to become a doctor, that is a very long career choice versus say an NFL football player. Once you become a doctor, you can very well practice for up to 50 years. Therefore isn't important to get the best possible education possible to become the best possible doctor? I also feel that too many physicians are not well-rounded human beings. They might have great technical skills but might lack interpersonal skills or make poor decisions about other important factors like business, marketing, design, staffing, and bedside manner. One thing is clear that you can't learn everything in Medical school, so it's important to learn to be an excellent human being who can think critically and make sound choices with regards to ethics and moral decisions.

If you follow my line of thinking, I think it would be far better to curate the best possible college application to get into the best possible undergraduate program that will prepare you for a pre-med track. This means getting the best possible UWGPA, the highest possible SAT/ACT test scores, having the best ECS, recommendations, and essays. If you can get into a Top 20 college or liberal arts college, you will have better chances of getting into a Top Medical School when you apply.

If you rush to graduate early, you might scrape by with a decent college application but if you are already stressing about keeping up with AP (college-level rigor) now, how are going to make sure you get your 8-12 APs with A grades and scoring 4s and 5s on your AP exams? You may get into a good college but then at some point, you are going to have to catch up to all the kids in superior colleges who have a leg up on you that you are going to challenge you when you apply to medical school.

Short cuts in my opinion come with great opportunity costs which may be irrevocable in your future ability to catch up.

You may have a completely opposite viewpoint on why anyone would want to become a doctor. I understand that people have different reasons. Some only want to be rich and have a lavish lifestyle. Others want to serve their community and cure as many people as possible with not monetary goals whatsoever.

But if you like most people have only 1 admissions cycle to get into the best possible college would you rather hedge your bets and try for the best possible outcomes. Given this ultra-hyper-competitive admissions environment where the best schools now have to admit rates below 5% and the best liberal arts colleges all have rates under 10%, do you really think you will be on the same level with these applicants with 3 years of High School when 99% of them have 4 years of High School?

My advice is only based on how I see things through my lens or privilege. Please take it with a grain of salt. You have to live with your own decisions and make the best of it.

3 years ago

I think this choice is mainly up to your ability and intent. Have you attempted to flip through some courses of this level? How is the difficulty? (If it isn't that hard, it might just be suitable for your ability) Another facet that would be noteworthy is the limited time you have. If you have made up your mind to take these extra courses, it can very likely that you have significantly less free time and even sleep time (because as a 9th grader, after taking in a large number of study stuff, it meant I have much less sleep), so you would probably like to get emotionally prepared in advance. However, a benefit of graduating early would be that you can display to universities that you are extremely academically ambitious and willing to challenge yourself (which can potentially increase the likelihood that you are admitted). After considering these aspects, you can discuss with your parents and teachers about whether to skip grade.

3 years ago[edited]

First and foremost you have to understand the responsibilities of taking pure AP and Honors classes. It will take a long of time, dedication and dedication towards that goal you're trying to fulfill at your age. If you're a teen that is addicted to your phone, the TV or any other extra curriculum that is not pertaining to school you're going to need to change that attitude. Not saying you should stop having fun, but you have to set limits. You will need to make a schedule as a guide for you daily activities therefore you know what time to study, rest, watch some TV etc... Make sure to fit working somewhere in your schedule because it is a very good way to release stress and put your mind at ease. Prepare to make sacrifices; for example you know you got a test tomorrow but your peers want you to go out with them tonight. What are you going to do? Are you going to go with to a party and probably fail the test tomorrow or you going to stay how and study? Think about stuff like these, But if you think you up for the challenge, follow your dreams but if you got doubts, you might need to reconsider. Also about that skipping grade thing, if you going to do that I would not recommend for you to skip more than one grade.

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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