Are you an excellent student who can’t stand high school anymore? Maybe you need to go college. And thanks to a number of options, you might be able to go after your sophomore or junior year of high school.
How does this work? Some colleges have early admissions programs for exceptional high school students. A unique school that’s especially designed for this purpose is Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts. Students typically come to this small school after their sophomore year and earn either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Many transfer the credits they earn in their two years at Bard to other four year schools. Other colleges and universities have smaller programs designed for students who want to do early admission, so check with colleges that interest you or your guidance counselor to find such programs.
In addition, many states offer programs where students can attend school at a community college or state university in lieu of one or two years of high school. My husband did this. He entered the University of Minnesota right after his sophomore year in high school. After two years, he earned his high school diploma, and he had a bachelor’s degree by age 20. One of the best parts of the deal: the State of Minnesota paid for the first two years of tuition and books, since these years officially counted as high school!
So is this kind of program right for you? Obviously, it’s not for everyone. You need to be an excellent student, and you need to be mature enough to handle the the college environment, where there’s little hand-holding. And for some students, high school is a great experience that they don’t want to leave.
However, if you’re a solid student and high school is just not your thing, this might be a great alternative. I had the opportunity to go to college a year early and I didn’t, which is something I regret. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. I was your typical shy, nerdy late bloomer who blossomed as soon as I escaped from high school, so I don’t know why I prolonged my high school days. Yeah, the prom was fun. But so what? And yeah, the academic preparation I got in my AP classes helped me out in college. Nonetheless, I’m sure I would have done OK without them.
So, if there are any younger versions of me out there, take my advice and check out what programs are available in your state and at your favorite schools for early admission!