Normal graduation is 17-19 years old, so "early graduation" can mean different things to different people.
The benefits of graduating early: getting a head start on college or career, taking college courses when the student is academically eager and ready for them, less senioritis, and busy students can focus on college applications during that busy time of life. In college, the benefits are graduating earlier than their age-mates, and entering the job force earlier.
The drawbacks of graduating early: may be overwhelmed by more mature students who are seeking a spouse or engaged in partying in college. Instead of school, the student may become a couch potato and experience failure to launch. It may be viewed by colleges or employers as senioritis or a gap year. They may be viewed as "less mature" and therefore less desirable by colleges and jobs.
Instead of graduating early: keep curriculum challenging but not overwhelming. Consider homeschooling some college classes with CLEP or AP tests. Take a gap year, or enter community college while living at home. Take more high school credits than necessary to strengthen their application, so they can get into a more selective college as a much stronger applicant.
For more information, check out these articles: Whats Next? 8 Options After High School (Part 1 of 2) What's Next? 8 Options After High School (Part 2 of 2)
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