Flickr User Joan Nova

Flickr User Joan Novaraduat

Typically, when one says they are graduating early they receive mixed reactions of optimism and pessimism from others. On one hand, people are excited for you and impressed that you were able to graduate in under four years. On the other hand, people may advise you against it, telling you to stay in school as long as you can. Both reactions likely come from these individuals’ past experiences, but at the end of the day, if you are able to graduate early then it is your decision whether or not you want to prolong your education. If you find yourself in this situation and are unsure of whether to cut your college career short, check out these pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros:

Saving Money

An obvious up-side to graduating early is the money that you will save. Leaving college with the least amount of loan debt possible is an important goal that students and families work toward. By graduating early, you will spare yourself an extra semester or years’ worth of tuition costs, book costs and other expenses associated with your education. The less time you spend earning your degree, the less money you will have to pay in the long run.

Jump start on job searching:

Especially if you graduate in December, the job market may be less saturated with recent college graduates clamoring for an offer from a company. By starting your search earlier than your peers, you put yourself in a position to interview with companies and take a job offer that may not be available 6 months down the road. In this sense, the phrase “the early bird gets the worm” is good advice to live by.

Opportunity to Travel or Take a Break

If you have enough money saved up to afford yourself some time off from responsibilities, then right after graduation is a great time to do so! Especially if you graduate early, you may not feel as pressured to get a full time job right away and can relax for a while. Traveling or taking a break is also a great way to gain some perspective during a pivotal time in your life. Many students graduate college feeling lost, conflicted, or unsure of their next step. Stepping away from daily life and making some time for yourself can help you open your mind to new possibilities and discover a path that perhaps you hadn’t considered before.

Cons:

 Leaving College and Friends Behind

Toward the end of your college career, it is likely that you will experience feelings of nostalgia and sadness. Let’s face it, college is really hard but it is also one of the best times of your life. You meet new friends, have a ton of fun, learn new things, and grow into your own person. After a few years, your college town may feel more like home to you than where you’re originally from which can make it hard to say goodbye. It may be difficult to move on to the next chapter of your life if your friends are still back at school and you have a fear of missing out on things.

Start paying back loans sooner

Of course if you took out student loans, which most people do, there is a limited grace period before you have to start paying them back. Depending on your financial situation, this may or may not be an issue. Regardless, the sooner you walk across the stage, the sooner you have to start paying money back that you borrowed and that’s just not a fun time. All the more reason to start saving your money now in case you do want to take a break from working. That way you’ll have a cushion to fall back on once you have to start paying back loans.

Younger When Joining the Workforce

It can be hard enough joining the work force as a four year graduate and possibly being the youngest one at the office, so graduating a year or a semester early could potentially be even more difficult. That is not to say that your age should affect your perception of yourself and your potential, but starting your first job always has a learning curve. Additionally, if you haven’t allotted yourself enough time to gain experience during college you may have a steeper learning curve than someone who has taken more time to graduate and develop their skills.

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