If you are an ambitious, engaged student who will graduate with fewer than four full years of high school, you may be eligible for admission to CSU as an early graduate, especially if your high school experience has included accelerated and/or academically rigorous course work (i.e., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual enrollment college courses) and achievement that’s competitive with our freshman applicant pool.

Admission Requirements for Early Graduates

  • You must have a date of graduation prior to the start of your intended term of entry. If your high school transcript does not include an expected graduation date, we may need additional time to follow up with your high school.
  • When you apply, your transcript must reflect that you have completed at least 75% of our recommended high school course work (equivalent to completion of your junior year) before we can make decision. For most early graduates, we expect to see at least six semester of high school work completed, though we may review transcripts with just five semesters completed for applicants graduating a full year early.
  • You are encouraged to use your personal essay, in part, to address why you have chosen to graduate early and how you demonstrate college readiness.
  • If you are younger than 17 years of age when you apply for admission, we may ask for additional information about your circumstances to help you evaluate your readiness for the full student experience at CSU.
  • Admission is provisional until a final, official high school transcript has been received. Admitted students are not able to register for the second semester of enrollment until a final, official transcript has been received.

Important Aspects to Consider

  • Before you apply as an early graduate, verify that your high school is actually GRADUATING you early and not just releasing you from a semester of required enrollment. Some high schools allow students to leave high school after the first semester of their senior year if all graduation requirements have been met, but the school or district policy only offers graduation in May/June. We consider these students “early release” students, not true “early graduates.”
  • In the case of “early release” and not “early graduation,” applicants typically cannot be considered for spring semester admission. In order to be eligible for spring admission, students graduating a semester early must have a graduation date prior to the start of the spring semester on their final, official high school transcript.
  • If you will have met all graduation requirements at semester but will not graduate until May/June (with your class), we hope you will apply for admission to the fall term and pursue other educational or non-educational opportunities during the spring.
  • If you are an early graduate applicant eligible for spring entry, we hope you will be mindful of the unique challenges of starting at CSU mid-year. Moving into an established community in the residence halls, transitioning without the benefit of a four-day orientation program such as Fall Semester’s RAM Welcome, and jumping very quickly from a high school environment in December to a university environment in January require additional student initiative, tenacity, adaptability, and maturity. Consider carefully whether this is a good option for you.
  • Most institutional and private scholarships/awards are based on Fall Semester entry.
  • If you will officially graduate at semester (December/January) and plan to attend an another institution for the spring before entering CSU in the fall, you should apply as a transfer applicant.