This is a question that I've been pondering for a long time and badly needs advice and different perspectives. Background: I'm an international student attending a modestly reputable college in the US. I'm a rising junior majoring in math and minoring in chemistry and psychology, with a GPA of 4.0/4.0 and pending publications in computational chemistry and psychology. I'm interested in Ph.D. programs in computational neuroscience (since this is a inter-disciplinary field, mostly I will apply to math or neuroscience programs).
So here is the problem: I really want to graduate early in three years, but should I? There are four reasons supporting this decision. First, due to some poor financial choices of my parents, it is risky if I stay in college for the total four years (getting a degree in three years is surely better than no degree at all!) Secondly, there is no professor here who works in the field of computational neuroscience, and the lack of relevant research opportunity is disappointing to say the least. Third, I find myself under-challenged by the curriculum. I'm taking the maximum course load with a lot of "hard" classes, but I find myself getting nothing out of the classes besides more facts and techniques. Finally, from the limited internship opportunities and readings I've done in computational neuroscience, I know that I will enjoy immersing myself in this field.
On the other hand, I can see how graduating in three years can put me in a huge disadvantage for Ph.D. application, and this is why I'm hesitant to make the final decision. One more year means more higher-level classes to take, more time to do better research, more time to prepare for GRE general and subject tests, and more time to grow as a person in general. I feel like even though I'm one of the best student in my college, but I'm certainly far from being one of the best in the country (which means diminished probability of being accepted by one of the better programs). I just want some more time to further challenge myself before I leave the college for good.
I would really appreciate some different opinion on this matter, and I thank you for reading through this long question.