Will not enrolling in STEM magnet school in 8th grade hurt me now?

My school district offers a select program at a STEM magnet-like school for the 3 high schools in the district. One applies in 8th grade and there is no entering the program after that.

At the time (8th grade), I was not mature enough to make such a decision and was never exposed to technology and/or engineering (my school district, other than this magnet school, is ironically deficient in these subjects for K-8 schools) and therefore took no serious interest in enrolling.

I’d always wanted to be a doctor one day, but as I studied science in high school (will be a senior in fall), I was never satisfied with just learning the material (which is a lot of what science is). I suddenly developed an incredible interest for learning the mathematical underpinnings of science and have completely changed my curriculum to be based on biomedical engineering concentration. I now (or rather will, soon when senior year begins) take STEM courses at a local university and at a local tech university (though not MIT, or Caltech) and these are all sophomore-senior undergrad courses.

Today, I have sincere regret for not attending this STEM program. My regular old high school did not give me opportunities that I may have had at the STEM magnet school. I quickly exhausted the math and science AP courses and began taking at a local comm. college and local university.

My question is, will top tech schools like MIT and Caltech “penalize” me for not attending this STEM-magnet school program? Will they understand that this was a decision I made as a completely immature (as far as making decisions) 8th grader?

No, they won’t penalize you, because the likelihood is that they won’t even know you had the opportunity and turned it down. You made the best of what was available to you at your high school, and went beyond that. That’s what they will see and that’s what they will care about.

Thanks annasdad.

I hope it goes as you say.

Anyone else?