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Applying at 16

Navya02Navya02 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member

I moved from India in Elementary school. In the US, I am technically younger than everyone in my grade. When I apply for college and till I graduate I will be 16. So, my question is will this affect the way AOs look at my application? I don't know how bad of an affect that will have. It's not like I am beneath the others kids in my grade I guess. I have a few recognitions/ awards. I got a 35 on ACT, I have all As and A+s. I take all AP and Honors classes, and I am in different volunteer positions, a research position, and different ECs with leadership. I am also got a job recently. Please let me know if my chances will be affected by my age. I am just worried that they will hold my age against me as the rest of my class will be 17/18 when applying as I am sure most people are. Thank you!!!

Replies to: Applying at 16

  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,604 Senior Member
    I don't think it's a negative and it might be a plus. I was 16 when I applied to college, but I did end up taking a gap year so that I was a fairly normal age in college. My roommate was 17 though and did fine. I think it's less common to allow grade skipping these days, but you clearly are academically prepared and it sounds like you are fine socially as well.
  • AmkngkAmkngk Registered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    My daughter was 16 when she applied and it was not an issue.
  • Navya02Navya02 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Thank you for the advice!
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,773 Forum Champion
    I would consider doing an exchange year or gap year before you start college.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,654 Forum Champion
    edited March 14
    I don't think applying at 16 will be an advantage at all. In fact I think it will be a bit of a disadvantage as some admissions officers (especially at the more selective schools) might have concerns about the maturity/socialization of a 16 year old in a college environment.

    Have you completely exhausted all of the highest level (AP, IB, Dual Enrollment) classes at your HS? If not you may consider another year of HS which would also allow you to further expand on your ECs. If you have then taking a gap year before college may be an idea.

    Life is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no reason to rush through HS and to college.
  • Navya02Navya02 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @happy1 I am not applying to college early or something. I will be a senior at 16 and I’ll apply as a senior. We have 22 AP classes, and I will have taken 10 by the end of HS. I have different involvement and things but I can also improve them. However, are you advising that I repeat my senior year of HS. I don’t think that would be a possibility unless I failed, but I’m unsure. I will be a regular senior when applying it’s just that when I move to America they put me in a higher grade than I was supposed to be in. I don’t think I am “immature.” My counselor said I was the most dedicated, mature, and driven he had in the past decade. Idk food for thought. Thanks for the advice! I was thinking about a gap year, but we’ll see!
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,654 Forum Champion
    edited March 14
    I did not mean to suggest you are immature, however, I do think that to some admissions officers, who generally have 15 minutes or so to read each application, your age might come off as a concern. However, there is not way to predict how admissions at elite schools will fall out. If you don't take a gap year, I would ask your guidance counselor to directly address your high level of maturity in his/her letter of recommendation. Hopefully your teachers will address it as well.
    Post edited by happy1 on
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 6,248 Senior Member
    @Navya02 : Your teacher & counselor recommendations may be given additional weight regarding assessments of your maturity level & readiness for college & living away from home.
  • hophop Registered User Posts: 898 Member
    Applying as a 16-year old is likely neither a problem, nor an advantage*.
    Your application will stand on its merit and at almost all schools, will be considered either holistically, or be stats driven, depending on the school.

    In either scenario, you age will play a minimal factor, if at all.
    If you and your parents believe you to be mature enough for college (and from your posts is sounds as if you are),
    then that's what really matters.

    *full disclosure - I was a college freshman at 16.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    Also applied early and ended up attending late. Starting late was great for me.

    You may also be interested in the college that's set up for students like you: Bard College at Simon's Rock --


    It has a list of brilliant alumni.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,604 Senior Member
    Honestly I think Bard College is set up for kids who want to leave high school early not someone who is on a perfectly normal schedule and just happens to be in a country where kids start first grade later, that's how I ended up advanced a year.

    As someone who was 16 senior year, I never felt younger or less mature than others in my class. I had all the same experiences they did, except I didn't have a driver's license. I took the gap year not because I felt too young but because my parents had a lot of European friends who thought that it was a great idea to become fluent in a foreign language before attending college. (He was a diplomat who studied many languages not particularly successfully later in life.) I did like being young so that I felt like I could take a gap year without ending up older than my classmates, and I enjoyed my gap year so much I ended up taking another one before starting grad school as well. But both times it was because I had great things to do during that year, not out of any great need to become more mature.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,735 Senior Member
    More and more students are doing gap years, or post-senior years in high school, and many students, especially boys, tend to be a little older as college freshman these days. (Probably due to the practice of red-shirting. You can google it.) So I do not think being 16 has any advantage at all, and in fact, is possibly a disadvantage. It is very likely that most colleges these days have plenty of 20 year old freshmen.
  • Navya02Navya02 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Ok thank you all for the advice! Really appreciate it!!
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