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The Pros and Cons of Graduating Early

About one month ago, I submitted paperwork to graduate early, meaning I’ll graduate in January of 2016 rather than May of 2016. I had entered BU with a lot of outside credit and then played my cards well each semester leading up to now. When I realized I could graduate early, I jumped at the chance. Looking back on it now, I didn’t weigh the positives and the negatives, and although I think I’m making a good decision, I put together a list of pros and cons of graduating early for those who are on the fence.

Pros

  1. You save a semester’s worth of tuition, housing, convenience points, meal plan/grocery money, additional fees and everything else you spend money on at BU. That’s around $32,000.
  2. You can devote all of your time to finding a job (if you haven’t received offers yet). You don’t need to worry about class or projects or club meetings detracting from your job search anymore, and you can fully focus on this as a priority.
  3. If you have a job, you can start working already and start paying back those hefty student loans.
  4. But just because you graduate early, that doesn’t mean you have to work right away. You can use this as a gap semester to travel, volunteer or do an educational program that combines both.
  5. You get to rub your shiny new diploma in your friends’ faces, who still have 3.5 months of classes, midterms and exams.
  6. You get to be proud of what you accomplished and put the stress of college work behind you.

Cons

  1. You start real life sooner, which means real bills and loan payments, which your parents won’t cover any more.
  2. Or, you move back home and relinquish that independence you loved in college.
  3. You miss your friends who are still finishing up their senior year and those experiences you would have shared together, like those Allston parties or Marathon Monday.
  4. You can’t take those fun elective classes to boost your final GPA in subjects that didn’t mean anything on your transcript but you always wanted to take—like salsa dancing, or painting or Hindi, for example.
  5. And depending on if/when you fly back for Commencement Weekend, you might miss Senior Week. Talk about missing out on the last few epic BU memories you’ll have.
  6. On that same note, you’d have to go through the trouble of booking a round flight and finding a hotel to stay at, and also paying for it.

I’m not trying to say graduate early or don’t graduate early—I want you to make the best decision for yourself. Not everyone has the opportunity to skip a semester, and there are pros and cons to the situation, but make the choice that you think is best. And don’t let anyone pressure you in making your choice! This is YOUR college experience and YOU should decide how you want to finish it. Also, if you think I’m missing any good points, leave them in the comments for everyone to see.

An advertising student at Boston University, Allison Penn has been writing for HCBU since fall 2013. Her favorite beat is tips for internships and professionalism, but enjoys musing about pop culture too. She loves the weekly #Adweekchat, children's books, the colors olive and eggplant, Friends, magazines and dark chocolate. Secretly, she still wishes she could be a ballerina when she grows up. Follow on Twitter: @AllisonRebeccaP
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