If you’re anything like we were at sixteen, you’re probably itching to graduate and start the next chapter of your life. If you envision your next chapter on a college campus, then you will have to start the college application process in your junior year (which likely means starting the search process in your sophomore year). You will have one less year of English class and writing experience under your belt as compared to most fellow applicants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still submit a strong and distinct college application.
We recommend addressing your early graduation in the Additional Information essay section available to you in most college applications, including the Common App. While your personal statement should serve to reveal information about your background, character, and/or strengths, your additional information essay should address anything unusual in your academic record.
If part of your reasoning for graduating early was escaping a toxic environment, whether that be at home, in your community, or at your school, you can certainly address those factors in your essay, but focus on what you learned, what you’ve taken away from the experience(s), and your vision for the future.
Remember, admissions officers will expect your writing skills to be on par with the high school seniors submitting applications alongside you, so it’s in your best interest to put time and consideration into your drafts (i.e. don’t leave them ‘til the last minute)!