Three-year high school graduate

<p>I've been lurking here for several months, but finally created an account today. Does anyone here have experience with trying to get a 3-year high school graduate into HYPSM or perhaps the top LACs? I can't seem to find anything relevant on the Internet.</p>

<p>My son just finished his sophomore year and is planning to graduate in June of 2011, the extra high school credits coming from on-line and college courses. He took 8 AP exams in May, 4 of them self-studied, he's ranked #1 in a class of 425 and he just got his ACT results today, a perfect 36 composite.</p>

<p>Clearly, academic performance isn't an issue, but are 3-year grads held to higher standard because they haven't had enough time to "prove" themselves? It's also tough to shoehorn a lot of high-level ECs into a compressed graduation schedule.</p>

<p>Your insights would be appreciated.</p>

<p>Ah, I'm not alone! I'm an early graduate as well. It truly depends where you apply -- schools that focus on numbers alone may be iffy about the prospect, to say the least. :/ Some, but not all. Is there a particular reason your son wants to graduate early? Where is he looking to go? It depends on how you present your case, in my opinion.</p>

<p>Our stats are somewhat similar, in case you would like to take a look: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/802020-texas-has-bison-but-vermont-has-ski-slopes-where-shall-i-end-up.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/802020-texas-has-bison-but-vermont-has-ski-slopes-where-shall-i-end-up.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Do not hesitate to PM me for more information. T</p>

<p>I believe there is one member - mifune - who completed high school in three years with stats similar to the OP's son (2400 SAT, etc) and had a clean sweep at HYPS. I didn't graduate early though, so I'm not of much help here. :(</p>

<p>Why doesn't he just continue high school for the extra year and supplement his next two years with advanced courses through a local college (ex. he could take multivariable calculus if he's done with BC Calc ... ) and continue developing his ECs?</p>

<p>I'm sure that would lead to better results than simply rushing through HS. He does sound like he has a great academic record, though, so that's not bad (but like I said, could make it even better by going more ahead instead of rushing to fit the necessaries through in one year)</p>

<p>If he's got a 36 ACT sophomore year and 8 AP's already... maybe he's really bored in high school.</p>

<p>To OP: I think that the graduating in 3 years can hurt in general in elite admissions, but I think your son may be the exception to the rule. If he comes back with 4's & 5's on those AP exams, then the numbers tell the story -- he would be underchallenging himself to stay in high school. </p>

<p>I think your son should aim for whatever he wants, with the usual complement of reach/match/safety schools. If he is oriented towards math/engineering, the MIT historically has been very welcoming of youngsters.</p>

<p>

I believe Caltech is welcome as well :)</p>

<p>Calmom has it largely right, although there are more subtle issues as well. My son started taking extra AP classes this year, with special permission, because they were actually EASIER for him -- test scores were more of the class grade, homework less; he aces his tests but is not always good about turning in his homework. So he bypassed Honors Physics and took AP Physics without previous experience; he took two semesters of college chemistry without previous experience in chemistry. In both cases, he was at the top of his class. He took pre-calculus and was totally bored until he got special permission from the principal to sit in the back of the class, take the pre-calc tests and teaching himself AP Calculus during the 80% of the time he had been spending daydreaming.</p>

<p>His school has a limited number of AP classes and he will largely exhaust them this coming year. What would he take during a 4th year? The honor physics and honors chem classes he skipped? A selection of regular-level classes that move at a snail's pace?</p>

<p>I helped get my son off the beaten path because he was frustrated with the speed of his freshman honors classes. It didn't really occur to me until a month or so into this school year that he was becoming a moving target that would continue to need new and tougher challenges. He juggled 3 AP classes (US History, Physics and Statistics) PLUS his second college GenChem course and his other honors classes without breaking a sweat; in fact, he was demanding MORE because pre-calc was putting him to sleep.</p>

<p>Yea, I planned this poorly, but HYPSM was never even on the radar for his undergrad studies, we knew we couldn't afford them. We figured on a 3-year high school career followed by a 3-year college career (with all his AP and college credits) and perhaps HYPSM for early grad school, which is often free in exchange for research and/or teaching.</p>

<p>Then I discovered that, for us, these elite schools would be far cheaper than attending the state schools, if he gets in. More appealing is the idea that the teachers there could teach him at a pace closer to my son's natural pace of learning, because the slowest 75%+ are rarely admitted.</p>

<p>Ansar, my son's high school will require him to take 7 high-school classes in a 4th year, even if he supplements his studies with college work -- they get state funding by the number of periods he attended classes.</p>

<p>Many colleges have a concern about the maturity level of a young graduate. There's a lot more to success in college than just academics. There are some that would welcome an early grad- many who would have some concerns. Being young as a college freshman is not viewed as a plus.</p>

<p>I graduated high school in four years, so I can't comment much on the specifics of the OP's situation, but I skipped two grades in elementary school and started college at age 16. There were some concerns during the application process that my age would be held against me (I was fifteen when applying), but I was accepted to 4/6 schools I applied to, and the ones that rejected me were part of HYP. I just finished my first year at one of the US News top three LACs, and not only did I meet another 16 year old in my class, I made friends, joined several activities and did reasonably well academically. </p>

<p>Of course, everyone's maturity level is different, and anyone going to college should assess his/her ability to cope independently. It's a valid concern. But being young isn't necessarily a handicap, as MomofWildChild's post implied.</p>

<p>Best of luck in your son's application process!</p>

<p>I encourage you to look into USC (U of Southern California) and their resident honors program, which is intended for students who wish to leave HS after their junior year, and so everyone in the program has also only finished 3 years of HS.</p>

<p>USC is very used to this kind of student and so are well equipped to examine a 3 year HS record.</p>

<p>Since he would have a high school diploma, he could apply for standard admission as well, if he didn't want to join the RHP program. </p>

<p>Either way, he stands a very good chance of merit scholarships of 50% or 100% of tuition from USC.</p>

<p>LoremIpsum, If your son is interested in math & science, you might want to have him look at Caltech & MIT. I believe both school accept students who have completed just 3 years of high school with or without a HS diploma (I know they did when my son was looking at for colleges, but it might have changed). I know finaid may be an issue for you, but you might consider having your son apply and see what's offered - Caltech used to have some amazing merit aid for a special few - I'd read somewhere the merit aid was gone, but one never knows if it might be offered again in the future. And it sounds like your son might enjoy the rigors of Caltech. Good luck.</p>

<p>LoremIpsum, I go back and forth about this, too. My son is entering high school this fall with an ACT composite of 32 and 17-19 high school credits earned mostly online during middle school. He will complete 8 AP courses by the end of his sophomore year as well. My plan for him is to apply for United World Colleges international IB programs after his sophomore year with our state boarding school for gifted juniors and seniors as a back up. If our local high school was any good, I'd probably have him finish in two years, do a year of foreign exchange and go on to college but I don't want him to graduate from that school because it does not have a good reputation for admissions. As a former AFS exchange student and the mother of a Rotary Exchange student who is also gifted, I do recommend the opportunity to live in another culture, learn a new language and go to school as a way to give a gifted student the time to mature before college without being bored to death. There are plenty of colleges and universities that will take gifted young students but those kids seem to have a better chance of admission to higher level schools if they stick it out a little longer. I think the choice depends on the student's career goals. If he plans to get a doctorate or a medical degree, then it may make sense to fast forward through undergrad. If his future requires less schooling, he may want to attend college at a more traditional age.</p>

<p>Good advice from Apollo. We had the discussion with DD about finishing high school early although she had not completed all the courses your children have (OP and Apollo); she decided that she did not want to leave school early. I would have had my daughter attend one of the programs that is designed for gifted kids rather than putting her in with older kids had she wanted to make the leap. Best wishes.</p>

<p>Good Luck. Many years ago I left high school after 3 years to matriculate full time at a top regional LAC. Back then there were few AP classes, and no dual enrollment. It was considered "early admission," and my college year counted toward the remaining HS credits I needed. My HS diploma was awarded after my freshman year. There was no internet, no taking college courses online. Students applied to 3-4 schools, not 15-20, and Ivy league was not a consideration for many of us who lived over 1000 miles away. Besides, we could not afford it and were not savvy enough to understand the nuances of financial aid. I had a guidance counselor who knew me, know my maturity level, and knew I belonged in college. I had taken the toughest classes that were available to me, played in the band, and worked at McDonalds 20 hours a week. </p>

<p>I left and never looked back. I was ready, and I flourished. I also worked during my freshman year (JC PENNEY), although was able to get enough merit and financial aid and tutoring work-study after that year to not hold an outside job, except home during Christmas, Spring Break and Summer. </p>

<p>I still exchange Christmas cards with my undergrad advisor/Biochem teacher. I spent three years in college and then off to med school at flagship State U. You just couldn't hold me down.</p>

<p>I was bored if not totally immersed. For me it was what I needed and wanted. I did not miss going to Prom only once. I did not miss being a senior. The only regret I had was not being able to give a speech at HS graduation, but that lasted about 30 min. I lost that regret totally during a surprise award at college graduation, and my parents saw that in my smile, as I went to them and hugged them on my way up to the podium.</p>

<p>Some students need to have a level of challenge that their current school cannot provide. Those that are mature enough can handle "the older" kids. I had no problem being 17 at college and 20 at med school. The drinking age was 18 then, even scarier now that you think of it. But I had my priorities.</p>

<p>Listen to your student. If they wast to stay at HS for four years, find classes that will stimulate them. If they don't, and they are mature, let them go. At least students can actually graduate in 3 years now, although there are still many top colleges who have an early admission program if you ask. </p>

<p>I have a D who graduated HS this June, after finishing her AA in May. She was not the least bit interested in going away before now. Not one bit. Nor was she ready. You have to know your student. The hardest part is missing them one year sooner....</p>

<p>This year a friend of mine was applying to colleges after his junior year because he ran out of classes to take at his high school. He was accepted to Penn and rejected from MIT. I don't know too much about his high school record except that he took abstract algebra (2nd-3rd year college-level math) in his junior year and that he participated in the academic activities of the math department at a local top-10 LAC. (He made quite an impression there!)</p>

<p>To the OP- another idea might be to give some of the best New England boarding/prep schools a call. They have quite a few students with your son's profile, often from around the world, and will teach them at their level, even if it is, for example, 3rd semester college math. Even though the application cycle is over, they have been known to take talented students over the summer. Boarding is a nice transition to college life. Just an idea.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the ideas, folks. There's much to ponder so far, but don't stop yet!</p>

<p>Oaklandmom, Caltech would be first on my son's list if only Richard Feynman were still alive and teaching there!</p>

<p>My son's chief interests are computer science, physics and math, so MIT and Caltech might suit him. I get the sense, however, that he has very broad interests -- he enjoys Scholastic Bowl much more than Math Team, for example. With Scholastic Bowl, he loves the "tickle" of a vague clue which often leads to an association that turns out to be the right answer, even in liberal arts topics far from his areas of expertise. Math Team for him is essentially "just taking another test" where there is "some obscure shortcut" for solving a math problem in 1 minute that might otherwise take 10. He does well at both (captain of Scholastic Bowl and a couple of winning ribbons on Math Team), but seems to prefer broad knowledge over tightly-focused technical ability.</p>

<p>I see my son eventually becoming a synthesizer of multi-disciplinary knowledge rather than an expert with tunnel vision only focused on becoming the world's expert in a small sub-area of a single academic field. Would MIT and Caltech serve him well in providing the mental tools to pursue these more generalized pursuits, or is their focus too narrow?</p>

<p>How old will your son be when he starts college? 17?</p>

<p>What's your opinion of your son's maturity level? </p>

<p>Note: I finished high school in 3 years, started college at age 16, large public university. I don't regret doing it, but I wouldn't advise anyone else to follow that path. The problem was that I was too much in a hurry -- I went straight from college to law school, then I was a 23 year old lawyer in a high stress occupation.... I never really allowed myself much "fun" time. I was glad that my children didn't repeat the same. My daughter spent a semester living abroad in high school -- at age 22 she has now traveled extensively, lived for extended periods abroad in 2 countries, and really has done a better job than I did of taking full advantage of her youth. The lesson I learned in life is that you don't get "young" back again. </p>

<p>That being said... I don't think a kid like your son can be held back. He sounds like he is going to do what he needs to do. </p>

<p>My age was never an issue in college, at least not for me -- not sure my parents would have been all that happy if they knew all the hijinks that went on in the dorm where their 16 yo d. was living. However, since I'm female -- it was pretty easy for me to blend in-- most 16 year old girls don't look and act all that different from 18 year old girls. With boys sometimes there is a more obvious gap in physical maturity -- my own son was still growing even when he went off to college at 18.</p>

<p>Both MIT and Caltech have required humanities and social science courses. MIT has a thriving undergrad business major as well. Both schools have historically accepted a handful of younger students. My husband's roomate at Harvard was only 15 way back when. He kept quiet about it, and I never had a clue. He was a nice young man then and has had a successful life since. He might also look into Chicago and see if a Core heavy program would appeal to him. Countingdown's son - a math/comp sci guy took that route and is happy there. (My very similar but less willing to be rounded son is very happy at Carnegie Mellon.) </p>

<p>I'm a big fan of gap years, but in my experience the math/science guys think it's more fun to be in school. (I graduated from high school at 16, but my family suggested spending a year in France before going to college, which was the right thing for me, but my interests were history/literature/art and architecture.)</p>