Should You Graduate High School with an Associate’s Degree? - Grace College Online Skip to content

December 18, 2023

Should You Graduate High School with an Associate’s Degree?

Tagged With Associates Degrees

Are there benefits of early college high school programs? Grace College Online will help you Graduate High School with an Associate's degree.

Running to practice. Making time for friends. Completing assignments. And, of course, getting to class. High school is a crazy time. In the midst of all the chaos, students are also expected to begin considering their college careers. With so many options – from getting dual credits to taking additional coursework online – students are often encouraged to consider taking some college courses in high school. But what about getting an actual degree to show for it? Are the benefits of early college high school programs worth it? Let’s dive into the question: Should you graduate high school with an associate’s degree?


Should You Graduate High School with an Associate’s Degree: The Pros

Early college high school programs have many benefits. The most obvious benefit is the cost-effectiveness. By completing an associate degree in high school, you will have so many of your general courses finished that you can jump right into courses for your major. This means that your traditional college experience can be condensed, saving you valuable dollars. Plus, if your degree is online, you will find that most online degrees are less costly than traditional in-person degrees. Did you know that there are scholarship options geared specifically toward those pursuing online degrees? 

Another important pro is that you’ll have access to your support group in high school. Maybe it’s an advisor, a teacher, a parent, or a combination of people from school, church, and home. Your support group will walk with you through the process of beginning your college journey, whereas most college students start in a brand new community of people. Think of it as a “soft launch” into your college career. Starting out with the safety net of familiarity can build confidence as you develop new study habits, learn new tools, and begin more difficult courses.

A third benefit of pursuing early college high school programs is that they can open many doors for you! There are many job opportunities available for a student holding an associate degree, which is great news whether you are hoping to continue your education or finish with your associate degree. If you choose to continue, you may find that the jobs available to you with a degree are higher-paying than those you would have pursued without a degree according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And of course, if you choose to enter the workforce after you complete your associates, you will have the benefit of getting into your desired career sooner! 

Finally, pursuing an associate degree while in high school can bring more freedom to the years of college that follow. Want to explore adding more majors, minors, concentrations or certificates? With your general classes completed, now you can! You can also use this additional time to pursue more in-depth internships, embark on study abroad opportunities, or even graduate ahead of schedule!  

Should You Graduate High School with an Associate’s Degree: The Cons

Although completing early college high school programs has obvious benefits, it is not without its difficulties. High schoolers may run into several roadblocks along the way. 

The first struggle is the challenge of time allocation. It’s no secret that high school can be a busy time, especially for those who are involved in multiple extracurricular activities. However, some colleges and universities design their courses to work with high schoolers schedules. For Logan Anderson, a high school and associate degree graduate, doing both was possible! 

“I knew that completing high school while getting an associate degree would be time-consuming,” shared Anderson. “But I quickly realized that Grace’s program and quarterly classes were designed with high schoolers in mind.” 

The next roadblock students may run into is the academic rigor. While some high schoolers are ready for a larger workload, others may find that it is too much or that they are not yet ready for the challenge. With Grace College, students are given access to an advisor whose role centers around their success! 

“I was thankful to have an advisor specifically for the high school students,” says Cami Sibert, associate degree graduate. “She supported us in many ways, including helping us make connections with professors in different departments as we were deciding what we wanted to do toward the end of the program.” 

Finally, a struggle that a high schooler may face is transferring credits. No one wants to waste their time! Not all colleges accept transfer credits, so if you are not sure of the college you wish to attend yet, you may find that jumping into an associate degree program may not help your long-term goals. While transferring credits has historically been a struggle, since 2020, many institutions have become more accepting of transfer credits.  And because transfers continue to increase in number, outlets like Inside Higher Ed are encouraging colleges to make the transfer process easier than ever. 

You can rest assured, at Grace, associate degree programs can fit into your goals.

“I chose to pursue an associate degree in high school because I knew it was so versatile,” Sibert reflects. “It gave me the freedom of open options, and I could easily apply it to whatever I pursued next.” 

Should you graduate high school with an associate’s degree? Early college high school programs open the door for more opportunities during your college career, help you segue into your college experience more gradually, and give you a financial boost as you step into what you were created for!


Ready to experience more? Explore Grace’s College Launch Program today!