Graduating high school a year early?

I see some top BB recruits graduate HS a year early. How does that happen? Extra classes online? I can see graduating in Dec. if the school uses the block system where each class is 1 semester. But 2 semesters early?

My brother did it in the 70s. Just took extra classes (no study halls?). I don’t recall exactly. He finished college in three years too. Always in a hurry.

From Wikipedia:

As I recall, they technically don’t graduate high school early; they simply start college early. I think the high school accepts credit for the college courses, and the students graduate high school at the end of their college freshman year.

I graduated high school in three years, though I was certainly not a sports phenom. I took summer classes to make that happen.

Our school system required 20 credits to graduate. You had the option to take up to 6 credits per year. Most students took 5 credits plus a study hall each year. I took 6 each year for 3 years plus 2 credits in summer classes.

More than a few of these kids are 1 and done in college to go to the NBA at 18 or 19.

In many states, the only class you have to have 4 years of is English, but you can double up one year or go to summer school. Generally the number of classes you need to graduate is pretty easy to achieve, if you want to. However, it’s fairly rare simply because there’s usually no advantage to it: going to college at 16/17 would suck, and if you want to get into a good college, or get a good scholarship, you need the extra year’s worth of stuff to be an attractive candidate. Other post-HS paths also really need you to be a legal adult, or close to it: the military, trade schools, etc, are set up with the idea that people involved can make decisions and sign contracts like an adult.

I think there are other countries where graduating early is highly prestigious; the only times I’ve had kids really BENT on graduating early, their parents were fairly recent immigrants who pushed it very hard.

In many (most?) cases where basketball recruits “reclassify” to an earlier graduation class, the student is behind his normal class and is catching up to where he would normally be.

Why do they end up behind a grade? Some students elect to repeat a grade in order to have a competitive advantage. Some end up behind because of transferring schools (esp. to elite private schools) and not having all their credits accepted.

Through summer school and/or overloading their registration, they can catch up to graduate in their original class.

we no longer have summer school here but they might have an online summer school. My son’s friend’s sister was a top soccer player who graduated 1 year early and played for UNC which is the #1 program in the NCAA.

In my experience, when the elite private schools recruit a talented sophomore, they want him to start over as a Freshman specifically because they want all 4 years out of him, if possible.

There are some high schools these BB kids go to which are basically diploma mills. The NCAA has cracked down on a lot of that but not all. It’s not rare to see a top BB kid go to 3 different HS. And some go to an extra HS year to get their grades and/or SAT score up. A place that does that extra year is Fork Union military academy in Virginia.

Not exactly what the OP is looking for. But a girl I went to high school with got a long term illness the first half of our Junior year and missed almost the first 2 semesters of that year.

Instead of going back for an extra year she dropped out and took equivalency courses at the local tech school. Night courses, weekend courses, study at home, etc… Also, in those days (mid-late 70’s) one could “test out” on some subjects rather than having to take the entire course. By the time the rest of us were starting our senior year she already had her GED and started college at a local state university extension.

I have no idea if any of this is still possible today.

I graduated a year early only because they skipped me out of kindergarten. I went straight to first grade because I was already reading well ahead of even the 1st graders.

The lil’wrekker jumped over 1st grade and went into second grade. So she graduated early as well.

I know someone who entered college while still in the 12th grade in high school to get some kind of advantage in social security survivor benefits before the law changed. He needed to be enrolled in college before the end of the calendar year or something like that, he had no problem being accepted into a local state school on that basis alone.

Do colleges really care all that much about a technicality like a degree if the students qualify otherwise? Are there still open admission colleges?

One of my classmates in high school ('99-'03) graduated a year early. I believe she had made arrangements to spend a year abroad after graduation, before going off to college. I guess this way, she didn’t lose a year.

Another one of my classmates skipped 8th grade so in that sense, she graduated a year earlier than she would have otherwise. She turned 17 during her senior year.

I graduated a half year early. The high school I went to had a policy that even though I had enough credits to graduate at the end of my junior year, I had to attend the first semester of my senior year and take study hall the first period. Then go home for the rest of the day the entire semester.

So I graduated in January, and had to pick up my diploma as I was joining the Air Force in March and needed it for that. Naturally I missed my formal graduation ceremony.

When I was in middle school I took the SAT as part of the Midwest Talent Search and scored well enough to be invited to attend a ceremony in Chicago. One of the things they mentioned there was that they (Northwestern I guess?) had a program that would take exceptional students after their second year of high school, giving them a 1-2 year head start on college that was inevitable in their future. I say 1-2 years because my last two years of high school I earned around a half-year of AP credits, and even could have graduated high school in 3 years if I had realized it soon enough so I could get the required courses in. Anyway, the point is that the college/university would take talented students without a high school diploma based mainly on their SAT scores I guess. I don’t know the details because it was only mentioned in a speech, but I assume there would be some way for you to at least get high school credit for the college courses you started with in case you didn’t manage to finish college. Of course, this is not what the OP is talking about at all, but it shows that schools will definitely take kids that haven’t graduated from high school. The reason mentioned in the OP may not be quite as academically fulfilling, but colleges are free to take whoever they want. I don’t think anyone can force them to required a HS diploma; it simply makes sense that for ordinary people, that’s an obvious requirement, but one that can be waived in excepttional circumstances.

One of my sons graduated a year early. He was supposed to graduate the next year but after Columbine he decided he didn’t want to spend another year in high school and he wanted to work full time. So his deal was that if he had enough credits to graduate he would, and if not he would get a GED because he was not going back to school. It turned out he had enough credits due to a couple of independent study projects.

In my day almost everyone who had never flunked a class could have graduated early, but most of us preferred to take it fairly easy, slack off, and enjoy outside actiivities during our senior year. If you had something important to get to like a sports scholarship in college, then off you go. (Although in my high school people were more likely to get married at 17 than to get a sports or any other type of college scholarship.)