Early Graduation, What is it?

Going into the workforce, military, or a career right after high school? Early graduation might be the right path for you.


Ashley Kenney

The Dallastown High School Class of 2017 celebrates with the traditional cap throw at graduation. The early graduation program allows students the chance to complete their coursework after trimester one or two and still be eligible to return to walk at the ceremony with their classmates.

There are many opportunities for students at Dallastown, but some are not as well known as others. Early graduation is in that realm.

Last spring, interested students were able to apply for this opportunity. About 30 DHS students took advantage of the program for the 2021-2022 school year.

Mr. Bill Probert, the Workforce, College, and Career Counselor at the high school says he expects a similar number next year.

“I’d say about 20-30 people will apply for it next year,” Probert said. 

But, you may be wondering, what exactly is early graduation?

Early graduation is an opportunity for students to earn their diploma after the first or second trimester, so they can get an early start on their post-secondary plans.

After hearing that, a few questions are probably running through your mind: what are the requirements, benefits, drawbacks, and maybe even, how do I apply?

Dallastown High School’s Graduation in 2017. (Ashley Kenney)

For starters, students need to be able to complete the rest of their graduation requirements within the first or second trimester of their senior year.

For a student who may be credit deficient, or lacking the amount needed to graduate, they will have a challenge trying to achieve this.

Choosing this path is another way that to start a career early or even start college early.

Sometimes they have an enlistment in the military, and it comes to be earlier rather than later in the summertime after they graduate normally. Early graduation really allows them to create their own schedule and graduate on their terms,” Probert said.

This program has been very successful, because students have been able to go into the military, start college, or begin full time jobs earlier than the traditional high school schedule would have permitted them to do.

Can an early graduation student still walk at graduation with their class? The answer is yes.

Students who choose early graduation are able to come back, walk across the field with their cap and gown, and turn their tassel with the rest of their class.

When kids are ready to move on, it’s a nice little perk for Dallastown.

— Mr. Probert

When choosing this path, there are some things to be aware of, such as things that you are unable to attend if you were a traditionally enrolled Dallastown student.

Events like prom, the school’s plays and musicals, and playing PIAA sports are something that a student is unable to do once early graduation is chosen.

The only exception to this is if a student is a guest of another senior, then they would be able to attend.

“We tell them up front, so it’s not a surprise,” Probert said.

When students choose to graduate early, they have already made up their mind and are ready to go by that point.

Applying is simple. There is a single page application, located in the counseling office. Students can see their school counselor to pick one up.

Another big question when choosing to take early graduation is what do colleges think of this?

“Colleges have no concerns. They look to see on the students’ transcripts that they are meeting the graduation requirements. As long as they’ve done that, they’re set.”