The future starts sooner for early graduates

Graduating early allows students a headstart on their future


Caroline Fix, Staff reporter

Each year, a small group of seniors choose to graduate New Trier early to pursue their interests.

Susan Thorngren, a faculty member in post high-school counseling said, “Students may choose to graduate early to take college level courses at a nearby community college or university, take a semester program out of the state or country, work full time, or for family reasons.” Students will meet with their post high-school counselor regularly throughout the process.

Thorngren said taking advantage of the extra five months to pursue your interests by graduating early is definitely something to consider.

The school registrar, Mary Ellen Nickels, said students can either graduate a year early or, more commonly, graduate at the semester their senior year.

Typically, three to six students decide to graduate New Trier early.

This number has decreased dramatically compared to the twenty students who graduated early from New Trier in 2004, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Two students decided to graduate New Trier early this year: Natanya Granof and Cassandra Radulovic. Both left at the semester.

Granof has since been “relaxing and enjoying life. I’ve done a little traveling and catching up on some reading. I have also been studying Hebrew for an intensive language studies program I am participating in called Ulpan,” Granof said.

Granof took part in Ulpan the second semester of her junior year. She traveled to Israel with seventy other kids from North America and “had eleven hour school days, which included two hours of Hebrew and three hours of Jewish history.”

“Twice a week we would travel around the country and learn about historical events. We also spent a week in Poland. It was an amazing experience,” Granof said.

Last July, Granof decided to graduate early her senior year and take a gap year. She will return to Israel in a few weeks to continue the program. Granof has been studying Hebrew daily as she needs to be proficient in the language for gap year.

“I earned extra credits studying abroad and realized if I took English and Consumer during the summer, I would meet all of the requirements necessary to graduate early,” Granof said.

Each student considering this option must have a total of nineteen credits and still must fulfill the graduation requirements, which includes four years of Kinetic Wellness.

Granof said her wide range of activities, such as hiking and climbing mountains in Israel, allowed her to receive an extra Kinetic Wellness credit.

Graduate Radulovic doubled up on English classes prior to graduation to earn her enough credits. “I am happy I left,” Radulovic said. “I miss seeing my friends, though.”

Radulovic is leaving on Feb. 13 for a six month trip to Europe. “The trip is a gift from my dad because I have always wanted to go on an adventure abroad. This will be my first time out of the country,” Radulovic said.

“I will travel to Serbia and see some of my family members and travel to Italy, France, Ireland, Greece, Germany, Amsterdam, Spain, and the United Kingdom by myself,” Radulovic said.

In 2012, New Trier student Emily Barretta graduated early in order to play tennis during the spring of her senior year for the University of Illinois.

Last year, Kevin Quinn decided to graduate from New Trier at the semester of his senior year in order to travel to Los Angeles and further develop his acting career. Quinn took two English classes during the first semester of his senior year to meet the requirements of four years of English.

Reflecting on her plans, Granof said, “My parents were very supportive of me graduating early because I have a plan to utilize my time wisely, and I am extremely happy with my decision.”