Graduating early?

<p>I have a sophomore daughter, interested mostly in art (and very good at it, based on the feedback she got this year at National Portfolio Day), who wants to graduate from HS after junior year.</p>

<p>She is a year ahead in all her academic classes, and will be able to take all the classes she is interested in at her HS by the end of next year. She will be mainly looking at very selective schools with strong art programs (WUSTL, CMU, possibly Brown, etc.), and not stand-alone art schools.</p>

<p>My question is for the parents who have kids that graduated early and got into very selective colleges - did they have any issues with schools requiring "4 years of English, etc."? Did they have to justify their decision to graduate early? Is there anything else we should be aware of as a potential problem with this plan?</p>


<p>This has been discussed before in various threads, often dealing with gifted students. Perhaps you can do a search. Beware that what it takes to graduate early and what it takes to be admitted into a top college are quire different things.</p>

<p>Here is the gist of what we did:
S came in to hs with 2 APs already, including AP-Calc, so it was fairly obvious to all concerned that he might want to graduate early. The previous year, the school had produced guidelines for graduating early.<br>
All requirements must be fulfilled (including 4 years of English) except for PE, the fourth year of which could be waived.
Requests for graduating early must be submitted and approved in spring of sophomore year and a plan of study worked out with GC at that time.
In practice, it meant that S had to double up on English in order to fulfill the 4 years requirement. He took an extra senior semester of English in the spring of his sophomore year (while taking 10th grade English) and the second semester of senior English in the fall of his junior year (while also taking AP-English). Meanwhile, he was taking a combination of APs and college courses as well as high school courses. All this meant a major tweaking of his schedule; luckily, he had a very supportive principal, dean and GC! Not all students have this advantage. Procedures obviously vary from school to school, but it is a good idea to begin thinking about them now.</p>

<p>In terms of admission, early graduation is not an advantage. In fact, colleges are inclined to be more rigorous with early graduates, feeling that, if there is any weakness, students could compensate for them with another year. Also, early graduation means fewer opportunities to shine in ECs.<br>
Also, early graduates will compete with other applicants who not only have fulfilled hs graduation requirements but may have gone beyond those, for example, by taking college courses (including at the advanced level). </p>

<p>hope this helps.</p>

<p>Aside from the academics, there are obvious social issues with early graduation and then going to a rigorous college. I went to college at 17 not because I graduated early but because I went to school at a young age. Socially it was very difficult for me.</p>

<p>S and I both went to college early, it was/is not a problem. It really depends on the student.</p>

<p>In our school system and some others, there is no way to waive the four years of English, nor is it possible to take 11th grade English and 12th grade English concurrently. (11th grade English is a prerequisite for 12th grade English in our system; no exceptions can be made.) Thus, students who wish to graduate early have to spend the entire summer between 10th and 11th grades taking 11th grade English in summer school -- a prospect that many find unappealing.</p>

<p>You may want to check with your school system to see how they handle the four-years-of-English situation for students who are graduating early. It would be a lot more pleasant to do it in the school system in marite's area than in mine.</p>

<p>I think your daughter should also consider whether the "package" she presents as a college applicant might be enhanced by completing 12th grade. She would have the opportunity to take more AP or other advanced courses and to assume more leadership roles in extracurricular activities if she stays in high school for a full four years. She could also spend both the summer between 10th and 11th grade and the summer between 11th and 12th grade doing things that interest her and that might, perhaps, interest an admissions committee (art-related internships?).</p>

<p>As for the social side of things, I can tell you that my sister and I both went to college a year early. I never felt that being a bit younger than average was a problem. She did. Yet she was the more socially sophisticated person. It's a very individual thing.</p>

<p>Another variation on the 4 years of English: I believe Bookworm's S decided at the last minute to graduate early. He completed his fourth year of English while already in college (Caltech). </p>

<p>In our school system, students who have the grades take AP-USH and AP-Literature concurrently as juniors. If they wish, they can take AP-Euro and AP-English in senior year, or take two semesters of "senior" English, which are more topical than the AP courses. Because of wishing to split the fourth year of English, S chose to go for the semester courses. </p>

<p>Finally, there are a number of colleges that admit students who have not completed high school. These include homeschoolers or students who have not fulfilled the high school requirements but are deemed college-ready.</p>

<p>Marite is correct. The OP mentioned CMU, which explicitly states in brochure that they welcome applications from students who have not completed HS. (MIT/Caltech are both opn to juniors, but thst doesn't apply to OP's artistic D)</p>

<p>My S took 1 semester of English on-line after applying to college. Even tho his PSAT/SAT scores in English were the highest, I do think not having planned and completed this class hurt his chances at some selective colleges.
The easiest solution would be to take class on-line during summer after soph year. In our state, this class is free. My S took 5 classes at local U each semester in junior year, and scheduling HS classes was difficult enough.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the thoughts and responses. My daughter will not have a problem graduating from her HS, but I am worried that some colleges might not like her having only 3 years of English on her transcript, even if she will be able to take AP English her junior year.</p>

<p>bookworm, what kind of on-line English class did your son take?</p>

<p>I don’t think that age will be a problem in my daughter’s case – she is one of the older kids in her grade, and is mature for her age. She is used to be in classes with older kids, since she is in all the “junior “ classes now anyway.</p>

<p>We considered this for my daughter who was somewhat bored in HS and decided against it after consulting some outside college counselors. We found it would weaken her application at very selective schools. She took the extra year to take classes at a local U, take on more leadership positions and do a lot of community service. All worked out well and she landed at her ED ivy.</p>

<p>My son skipped his senior year and has no high school diploma, since his private school declined to give him one if he didn't come back for his senior year (which I found ironic, since they encouraged him to apply for early admission). He is now in his senior year at MIT, which didn't care at all that he had no diploma. </p>

<p>Whether it's the right thing depends entirely on your kid. Is she bored in school? Are most of her friends older than her? (When my son was a HS freshman, ALL of his friends graduated--which was when he chose to switch to a private school with more challenging courses.) Are you comfortable with the idea of a 16 or 17 year old college freshman with access to sex, drugs, and rock and roll?</p>

<p>One thing that has come up on previous threads on this topic is the issue of a student being at college while underage, and how this would affect practicalities such as medical care, field trips, and banking.</p>

<p>The consensus seems to be that colleges are prepared to cope with this situation, although at some colleges, the student and parent may need to be proactive about finding out how, for example, the parent can give permission in advance so that the student need not miss course-related field trips.</p>

<p>I applied to college in my junior year (early admission). I was accepted, so I never finished HS. Oddly, after I graduated from college with a nursing degee (BS), I couldn't take the board exams without a HS degree, so I had to take the GED!</p>

<p>I had just turned 17 when I started my freshman year and had no problems with the work or the social aspect.</p>

<p>One other possibility if she's tired of her high school is to explore doing a year at a European high school. I have a friend whose daughter spent a year in Belgium. (Actually she somehow did this in addition to gradutating early.) She did feel that it impacted her admissions results - no at Harvard and WUSL. She ended up at BU - majored in linguistics, graduated from BU early with high honors.</p>

<p>My apologies for my ineptitude. I am interested in the pros/cons of a child graduating High School in three years (after having completed the 4th year of English) with aspirations of attending an Ivy-level college. </p>

<p>I have searched the Board--without success. I finally stumbled upon this thread and am interested in locating the previous discussions references. Can anyone help me find them.</p>

<p>Well, hello. Long ago thread.</p>

<p>Absolutely no regrets about S starting college early. He would have attended the state U, entering that college with enough AP credits and local U credits (12 each, if I recall) to be a junior. Based on past experience, he would probably have been given research opportunities. He would have interacted with other bright kids. Would that degree have helped him as much in future? Perhaps, if he shone. Bear in mind that my S's ONLY class at the local HS would have been English 4 and physics. The latter he studied on his own in latter part of jr year and then took exam to show proficiency.</p>

<p>I believe that my S was extremely fortunate in being accepted to Caltech. Many kids are younger than S; the 7 house system provides a family; one has a long-term relationship with an adviser, and he is surrounded by a peer group that is interesting. He has earned a merit award for upperclassmen.</p>

<p>The negative of applying early was that many colleges turned a blind eye to the applications, even an ivy where family has a dozen alumni (tho no big donors). I don't know if S not even offered interviews because he applied 12/31, didn't visit, or was a junior.</p>

<p>My suggestion is to plan ahead, as Marite's son did. Check with individual schools if Eng 4 is required (I know CMU didn't care). Personally, if a child has experience with college classes, is bored with HS, and shows maturity to live independently, then go for it. My S only applied to schools he would have liked to attend, knowing that he could go to state U for free.</p>

<p>I just did a search for you of any threads that have dealt with Early Graduation. Here is a link to the results of my search. It provides links to all threads that have discussed early graduation (at least the thread titles have included that....there are likely other threads discussing this topic but I have ONLY searched for the words "early graduation"): <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I am not going to go over all the issues as it really has been discussed a lot here in the past. I have a child who graduated high school after junior year. She was particularly young as she also had an early entrance into Kindergarten. She graduated and went off to college at 16. She is currently 18 and a sophomore in college. The idea to graduate early was totally her own idea. However, while not in MY plan, it is not a shocking idea. She has always had to have accommodations made at school and has accelerated throughout her years of high school and had completed most of the HS courses by junior year. I won't get into all the reasons she graduated early but for now will just say that in HER case, it was appropriate not only academically speaking, but also emotionally and socially, as well as in terms of her artistic training related to her field of study in college. If it were purely academic, there are various solutions. </p>

<p>In any case, she put this plan in motion mid year of tenth grade. Our school does have a form to fill out requesting early graduation. Like Marite says, there are two issues with the OP in terms of getting into college as an early graduate but also graduating from HS. I am not clear how your HS awards a diploma without four years of English. Here that is required. My D met all the graduation requirements due to acceleration. She had four years of English because she had taken English courses in the HS while in 8th grade, which at the time was meant solely to accommodate her learning needs, never intending to graduate early. So, in your case, you need to see what your HS will require for the diploma. </p>

<p>When my D chose to graduate early, before we put the plan in motion mid tenth grade, I called the colleges on her list anonymously and asked their policy in terms of accepting early graduates as I did not want her decision to graduate early to negatively impact her college goals. ALL her schools said it was fine as long as she had a high school diploma which she WOULD have. However, there are a few colleges that will accept students on an "early entrance" which is not the same as an "early graduation", without a HS diploma (such as a poster above describes their son did with MIT). Anyway, all my kid's schools said it was fine. </p>

<p>As Marite notes, college admissions officers tend to scrutinize early graduates MORE than the typical applicant and so the case must be strong. My D wrote a one page personal statement as to why she was graduating early (this was NOT one of her regular essays) and her guidance counselor and recs also spoke, in part, toward her being an early graduate and her readiness for college. She took all of her tests in tenth grade. </p>

<p>She had a very successful admissions process in a highly competitive process as she was going for BFA programs in musical theater and I realize the posters asking on this thread are looking at "elite" academic colleges. Her schools were "elite" in a different way, though she also is a very good student (the "gifted" type for lack of a better term). She preferred a BFA program in an academically selective school. The admit rate for BFA programs in Musical Theater hovers between 2-10% at all the schools. At the school she chose to matriculate at, the admit rate into her program is approximately 7%. Thus, the odds were tough. The admit rate to her university itself (academics was weighted 50% of her admissions decision) is 28%. She attends NYU/Tisch/CAP21 in the BFA in Musical theater program. So, it worked in her case and she had an older friend who attended who had told her they had taken an early graduate in the past. She won a very large four year scholarship and also was selected as one of 15 Scholars in the entire Tisch School of the Arts incoming class. So, I am thinking that her being an early graduate did not hurt her. I think she was as strong on paper as if she had been a senior. She was able to make a case for being ready beyond merely her academic profile. I know they take an extra look at early graduates at selective schools but it is possible to get in if you fit the profile of someone who appropriately is graduating early in all respects. It is not for everyone. I realize some are talking about it socially not working out. These are things to weigh in advance. I had NO qualms on the social end for my kid. She was always friends with older kids socially, in all her ECs, academics, etc. This was the group she fit in with the best. She is a leader amongst her older peers and continues to be at college. Nobody thinks of her as younger and it only comes up on her birthday when they all realize she is turning a much lower number than they are! </p>

<p>This is truly a very individual thing.</p>

<p>I admittedly did not read the replies above, so this may have already been said, but:</p>

<p>Talk to your counselor. See what would be required for an early graduation. If she is in public school, the school can waive some of the school-specific requirements, but she will still have to meet any state requirements. (I'm not sure about private school.) If she can't graduate early, I would recommend looking into the Resident Honors Program at USC (Southern Cal). They accept 30 (or so) students to begin as freshman after their junior year or high school without needing a high school diploma (basically, it's senior year & freshman year at the same time). USC does have a fine arts school... I don't know much about it, but if the goal is to get out of high school and move on to higher education, she should consider doing her freshman year at USC's art school, then transfering for her sophomore year.</p>

<p>There's a post on the Williams' early write thread of a 14-yr-old who will be at the Preview weekend, having just got her early write/invite. Cool.</p>

<p>I am graduating a year early this year, and I believe the best thing to do is contact the admissions officers at the schools she wants to apply to. When I contacted them, they basically all said that my chances were slim because I am graduating early. It seems like they expect even more from the early graduates, in terms of extracurriculars and academic courseload, in order to make up for the lost year. They told me they really scrutinize early graduates, mainly to see if they are mature enough to handle going to college at an early age. They all suggested that I write a brief supplemental short essay on why I am graduating early. I sent the essay to all the schools that I applied. </p>

<p>I have been accepted to USC, Rice (w/merit money), Northeastern (w/merit money), WUSTL, UIUC (Honors program), UMD-College Park (Honors and merit money), Temple (w/merit money), and have received a likely letter from UVA. Currently, I am waiting for Brown and Northwestern's responses. So far I have been accepted to all the places on my list, with the exception of the ones that I am waiting for.</p>

<p>Basically, what I am trying to say is...she needs to get in contact with some of the schools, so she can make her interest known early on, tell them that she is an early graduate, write an essay about graduating early (how she exhausted the courseload and wants to be challenged), and have the support of her high school counselors (who can vouch for her maturity in the recommendations). </p>

<p>PM if you have any questions about what I had to do or if you want to see what I wrote in my graduating early essay.</p>

<p>My god-daughter graduated after spending only 2 years in high school. As a junior, she went on a year-long study abroad, and before/after took summer college courses in literature, science & math at the near by cc. She got into Columbia, U of British Columbia & Berkeley, and went to Berkeley. Her letters of recommendation were from her h.s. counselor (who described her as "the most determined student I have ever come accross'!) a college professor with whom she took summer courses and the head of the school in Ecuador, where she lived as a junior.</p>