After five years as a college student, I am finally finished.
I know what you’re thinking. Why was she in college so long? Well...
I took my first college class at 14 years old with the help of Dual Enrollment. Two years later, I received my Associate of Science degree 10 days after I was presented with my high school diploma. I wrote an insightful article on exactly how I graduated at 16, if you are interested to read more.
Then, I took two semesters (summer and fall) to complete an internship, travel the country speaking, and launch my book, The Strategic Mind of A Young Legend. I truly enjoyed the vacation from college to pursue entrepreneurship at 17 years old.
Once, I hopped back into college, I went full force into pursuing Computer Science and Cybersecurity. In December of 2020, I officially graduated from my Computer Science program with a Bachelor’s degree at 19 years old.
When I graduated from college the first time, people all around the world wanted to know how I did it so they could do it too. Besides me launching the Dual Enrollment Company early in 2020 to help students graduate early with Dual Enrollment, I figured I should share how I graduated college again at 19.
Here are the 4 steps I took to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Information Assurance at 19 years old.
1. I Graduated with a High School Diploma & Associate of Science Degree at 16
To recap the beginning of my college journey, I went to a Junior High School that allowed me to take high school classes in middle school. I entered high school with 7 high school credits.
Then, I joined Dual Enrollment to take college classes for free. I earned 61 college credits as well as 21+ high school credits to graduate high school and college at 16. I have a full article on what classes I took to do that.
2. Attended a 4-year-university that Applied Most of Credits Towards my Computer Science Degree
Choosing a college that accepts most, if not all, of your transfer credits can reduce the amount of classes you need to take for the degree. Luckily, if a school does not directly apply the credits to your program, they may count as electives, which you also need to graduate.
Dual Enrollment credits are very likely to be applied versus Advanced Placement (AP) exam scores, which you can read further here.
3. Focused on Ways to Graduate at 19 aka Hack College
By 2020, I was really ready to graduate college because I was tired of taking out student loans, I had been in college for 5 years, and I was over homework. With that in mind I discovered a few ways to hack college, which I cover and more in this article.
a. Take Classes Elsewhere
As I was asking my Student Success Coach what options I had to take classes somewhere else, she brought up Straighterline. I already knew that my college accepted DSST and CLEP exams from asking registrar, but none of the exams applied to my Computer Science program. My Student Success Coach said I could take Introduction to Philosophy online. The class took me 2-3 months to complete.
If you don’t know, Straighterline is an institution that offers affordable and convenient general education college credit for students that enrolled in a college or university. The courses start at $59 with a $99 monthly membership, which is still significantly less than a college course.
b. Enrolled in Discount Summer College Classes
Using the Year Round Pell Grant that was offered to me and my income from a tech internship, I was able to take 3 classes during the summer. The online classes were only 8 weeks each and significantly cheaper that the normal price.
c. Took As Many Classes as I Could Manage & Afford
My credit limit without paying out of pocket was 19 credit hours so I lingered near that number every semester.
d. Signed Up for 8 Week Online Classes
I recognized early on that it was very rare for a school to offer 8-week online classes, so I took full advantage of the opportunity. Even though I was an on-campus student, my advisor would sign off so I could take 2 online classes each semester. This allowed me to complete 6 college classes over a 16 week semester and only handle 5 classes at once.
As you can probably tell, from early on I have always taken education to heart and found ways for higher education to work in my favor. I discovered how to receive an Associate’s degree for free, saving my $20,000. I also knew my limit of how many student loans I could afford to pay back in reasonable time, which meant it was my time to graduate.
I hope sharing this journey inspires you to find ways to benefit from having a degree than just having a degree. Instead, leverage that degree to find great internships during college, network with executives, and land competitive positions with your dream salary.
By starting college early, selecting a good college (less money, accept more credits, high salary demand), and finding ways to hack college, you too can graduate earlier than the traditional 4 years. If you are interested to know how to graduate high school and college early, grab my free eBook where I share other opportunities just like theses.
Remember, every Young Legend started out with a dream to be legendary.