Skipping Senioritis: Graduating at Semester


Graduating early is an opportunity many students find themselves being faced with, may they be seniors or sometimes even juniors. This can be a result whenever students have enough credits earlier than expected. Students can earn these extra credits from classes that were transferred over from junior high and from summer school classes.
When faced with the option, there are many reasons why a student might want to take the opportunity. Students might want a break after the four year journey, they might want to delve more into their job, or they might even get a headstart on their higher education.
Many students took this opportunity and got their education started at colleges like Ozarks Technical Community College. They have the time, and it will also get a jump start on their college education.
“I decided to graduate early because I felt like I was wasting time, and if I could get ahead, why not?” senior Summer Cooper said.
This opportunity sets them apart from their peers because they are getting things done at a younger age. This can give them a lead in life by being able to complete their education earlier.
“I’m getting ahead and getting stuff done faster, so I can do the things I want to do in life,” Cooper said. “While other kids are still in high school, I’m in college.”
Senior Jared Todd also took this opportunity at OTC through his A+ scholarship. While attending OTC, he also has a steady job that he works.
“I am working over 40 hours a week and taking a full online college course through OTC during this winter semester,” Todd said. “Having all my classes online allows me to work whenever my employer needs me to while still getting ahead in college.”
Using the A+ scholarship helps students save time and money in their educational career.
“Now I get to save a whole semester going to a four year college and thousands of dollars as well.” Todd said.
It also helps students prepare for their further education if they are wanting to pursue higher education beyond OTC.
“I am taking classes that will help me get a degree in Accounting and Business Management,” Todd said. “Right now I am taking macroeconomics, public speaking, digital literacy, and professional literacy classes. Next fall I plan to transfer to Baptist Bible College where I will pursue a degree in Business Management and Pastoral Studies. Then I will go on to Palm Beach Atlantic University and work towards a degree in accounting.”
Other students are using this time to fully commit themselves into their jobs. Working full time shows dedication to save up money for future expenses.
“I have been working full-time to save money for all of the things I will have to do in the quickly approaching future: going to college, moving out, and buying my own vehicle,” senior Kale Smart said.
This extra time also gives students important time to decide what is going to happen next in their lives. Many students are still unsure at what they want to do with their life. Some students make the mistake of delving into a major that they are unsure of and wasting thousands of dollars on the wrong thing. This extra time lets students fully commit to an idea of what they want to do with their lives instead of jumping straight in.
“Getting this extra time will benefit me by giving me a headstart on my savings as well as give me more time to think through my career choices in order to pick what’s best for me,” Smart said.
Students going full time will also show them what they are expecting in their future. It can teach them many lessons.
“Going full-time has given me a glimpse into adulthood along with the responsibilities I will have to face as I become more independent,” Smart said.
Students may also just want a break. Stress builds up during the years they attend school, and graduating early can give the well deserved break they have been waiting for.
It can give students time to relax for a little while. Traveling or taking a break is a way students can alleviate stress and gain some perspective during this important transition. As stated above, many students feel lost after they graduate and do not know what they want to do next with their lives. Taking a step back from all the responsibilities can help students open their mind and discover what they really want to do in life.
On the other hand, some students are capable of graduating at semester, but choose not to for various reasons. One of those reasons is they want to complete their year-long classes that they signed up for.
“[When they stay the whole year,] they get to finish classes,” Senior Counselor Scott Robinson said. “Most of our classes are year long classes, and colleges want to see you complete those. If you’re in calculus or any math and science classes, your colleges want to see you complete the whole year. [If you graduate early,] you’re only getting a partial education in year long classes, and that may not help you with college.”
Another reason students may not want to graduate early and go to college is because they aren’t sure what they want to do after high school. Not having an idea often results in students having a gap year or wasting time thinking about what they want to do. If students don’t have a plan of what they are going to do after they graduate, then there is no reason to graduate early.
“Students shouldn’t graduate early if they just don’t have a plan,” Robinson said. “Students who graduate early because they need to work, or want to work more because they’d like to go to school or go to the military, all have good plans. Sitting around to watch TV with a bunch of free time is not a reason to graduate early.”
A further motive for students not wanting to graduate early is because they want to finish out the year with their senior class. Relationships are an important part of high school, and being able to see your friends every day is a thing some people will miss.
“You do miss out on the comroderry and some of the things that you build during the second semester with your senior friends,” Robinson said. “They will miss out on being with their senior class to finish out. If you’ve been at Nixa for these 12 years, these are the people you’ve known for 12 years going to school with.”
Students have many important choices during their senior year, and graduating early is one that many are faced with. Whether or not they take that opportunity, there is reasoning to back up both sides.