The American Institute of Research reports that 81 percent of early-college high school students enrolled into a college of some sort, compared with 72 percent of students in a control group who did not attend early-college high schools. West Fargo High School has had many students graduate early, rather juniors graduating along with the seniors or seniors who have graduated during the first semester.
Junior Quinn Ohnstad is graduating with the seniors this year and said he is excited about graduating and moving on to the next chapter of his life.
“I think it will help me because I will be in college a year earlier so I will get out of college a year earlier. I plan to go to college for a very long time so I want to start as early as possible,” Ohnstad said. “I didn’t decide to graduate early until this year, so I had to plan the rest of the courses I was going to take that I needed for graduation.”
Junior Brooklyn Weist is also graduating with the seniors this year. She said she is nervous to move forward, but is ultimately excited to go onto college early. Weist, along with Ohnstad, have had to take classes online, as well as come in and take extra exams and surveys, to go forward. Weist said although it was out of school it was not too difficult.
“High school just wasn’t really the best for me, and so I thought that moving forward and furthering my education would be good with starting on a clean slate,” Weist said. “It takes up more times on your weekends, and you do have to spend more time after school to do testing, but I can still balance it out and I don’t have as difficult of a class load as some juniors do, so that helps too.”
Counselor Jamie Zuel said that one of the most difficult aspects to graduating early are the extra workload and expenses. Students might have to pay an extra amount of money to complete the courses and credits required to graduate.
“The high school experience can either be positive or negative. The hope is that a student can experience it all and grow from those experiences,” Zuel said. “High school is an opportunity to explore interests and take classes for free in areas that you are interested in. After high school, everything comes with a price.”
There are often many reasons one might graduate early. It might be to get a head start on life after high school and with college. It might be to get into the workforce early. It might be to get out of any negative experiences in high school, or even to go into the military. Either it be any of the reasons listed, or one that was not, any student who plans to graduate early has to plan ahead and be ready for whatever challenges they may face.