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Early college programs for teens

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any experience with early admission college programs for younger teens? I don't know if this is the right way to go with dd#1 or if we can pull it off financially, but dd has expressed some interest in skipping highschool and just going to college instead. She is particularly interested in a program in WA state that has a marine biology and oceanography major (her area of interest since she was three). This one would require us to move to WA of course... There is also a residential program back east, but that one is a lot more expensive given that it is a residential program rather than one where the kids go home each night.

My concerns other than financial, of course, involve a few things:

1) Dd doesn't care for the hs students she has met and those with whom she rides a bus and I feel that this may be coloring her perception of hs.
2) Dd has already skipped one grade, so she will be finishing 8th grade at age 12 and would be looking at starting college right around her 13bd or shortly before. In terms of residential programs, I have worries about not being around to help her through the puberty/hormones stuff and feel like she could really use mom around at that time in her development.

The pros include:
1) Dd is one of the most directed, focused preteens I know. She has known what she wants to do with her life for as long as I can remember. She's managed to set up meetings with experts in her field of interest, do a residential summer program at a university when she was 9 in marine biology, and it might be good for her to get into a program that would allow her to pursue her dreams before she is older and involved in the whole boy thing, wanting to get married, etc. (jump start of career before marraige, family, etc. comes along).
2) She's very mature -- has always been an old soul of sort.

eta:
Two additional thoughts: We have been giving thought to moving back to the west coast for some time, so moving is not something that we would do solely for dd's educational desires. Secondly, I forgot to mention in my concerns list burning the kid out. Although she is the one interested in this and expressed interest in the grade skip when the middle school suggested it, I worry about the amount of work on her young shoulders. Although very bright, she is not an unusually fast worker so she is looking at a lot of work time-wise for the things she is currently doing and the things she may want in the future.
post #2 of 11
This may be a dumb question but generally don't you have to finish high school before you can attend a university? Can she pass an ability to benefit test at a local community college even? Any chance of home schooling for high school or doing a virtual high school? Going straight from Jr high to college just seems a bit much.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yes, usually you do have to finish highschool. There are a few universities with "early entrance" programs where they allow kids who test as well on the SAT/ACT as incoming freshman and who meet other requirements to skip all of part of highschool and enter this special program.
post #4 of 11
Check your local community colleges. It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but here in NC high school students can take courses there FREE which really helps out financially getting their basics out of the way before going on to a university. It also gives the ones who are ready a head start.

You might want to try posting something similar in Parenting the Gifted Child if they are allowing new posts yet.
post #5 of 11
I would probably have her finish a year of high school first. Why?

1. to make sure she knows what she is going to be missing and that she is absolutely certain she is ready to skip this step or emotionally ready.

2. 14/15 is so much older in terms of maturity and focus than 13/14.
post #6 of 11
Has she explored all the high school options available to her? In our area, there are specialized high schools in the public system for students with specific interests and aptitudes - e.g. performing arts, science and technology, and alternative/self-design programs. Some students have to travel a fair distance to reach the school of their choice, but they are happier to be in a supportive environment with like-minded, similar-interested peers. In fact, one of the schools offers an environmental studies program and each year the students have the opportunity to travel to a different location for a term - Costa Rican rainforest etc.

I believe there are also Tall Ships high schools on the seas (sorry, I don't know the exact title) - there is one out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Students of different ages study at sea for a term or two - it sounds like it might be a good fit for your dd, particularly if she's attending an alternative high school with a self-design program. There's always homeschooling too!

I don't have information about early entrance for college, but it may be a good option too, if you can find the right program.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evergreen View Post
Check your local community colleges. It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but here in NC high school students can take courses there FREE which really helps out financially getting their basics out of the way before going on to a university. It also gives the ones who are ready a head start.

You might want to try posting something similar in Parenting the Gifted Child if they are allowing new posts yet.
This, I don't think its free here but starting in 9th grade if you have the grades you can do concurrent enrollment and get credit for both high school and college for both the same course.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Evergreen View Post
I would probably have her finish a year of high school first. Why?

1. to make sure she knows what she is going to be missing and that she is absolutely certain she is ready to skip this step or emotionally ready.

2. 14/15 is so much older in terms of maturity and focus than 13/14.
I agree with trying at least a year, maybe she needs a different placement rather then the local high school? I hated freshman year and went to an alternative school after that which allowed me to work at my own pace and I did all 4 years in 18 months technically since thats how long I was there but I actually did it in 9 months, I spent literally half the time goofing off and reading in the corner ignoring everyone and as long as my numbers stayed up I could get away with it. I graduated with a regular high school diploma and not a GED and unless there local they have no idea it was an alternative school.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evergreen View Post
Check your local community colleges. It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but here in NC high school students can take courses there FREE which really helps out financially getting their basics out of the way before going on to a university. It also gives the ones who are ready a head start.

You might want to try posting something similar in Parenting the Gifted Child if they are allowing new posts yet.
This is what I was going to suggest. In our area a child in 9th grade can begin going to comm college and take what is called middle college from 9th-12th. They do have to pass the entrance exams and keep good attendance and good grades in order to stay. That sounds more appropriate for your young DD. She can probably earn college credits that way and she'll be around the more advanced kids in her age range which would help a lot.

And there's no way I'd let a child that young start college so early. I'd much rather her be around kids closer to her age then throwing her in to a group of kids that are much older and in a whole different part of life than her.
post #9 of 11
I'm in WA and we have a program called Running Start where HS kids can take college courses and get credit for both HS and college. Many kids graduate from HS with an associate degree, some may even get a BS. Does Colorado have anything like that. FWIW-relocating to WA isn't that bad of an option, it's a great state and we love it here.
post #10 of 11
I've heard some negative stuff about one of the early college programs - a lot of the kids there just didn't seem emotionally mature enough to be on their own as much as they were.

When you say mature, what do you mean, exactly? Has older friends and seem to fit with them socially, or is able to handle many of the day to day expectations society generally places on older people (such as scheduling a haircut appointment, making flight reservations, shopping and paying using a debit card, cooking and otherwise keeping house, etc), is able to competently manage her time and juggle expectations, or something else entirely? I think all would be relevant to going off to college on her own.

I also think that a lot of the fun of college is the "college experience", living there, being immersed in it, doing the extra stuff, etc. I don't think a 13 year old would be able to handle that. During Rain's first year taking college classes (ages 14-15) she did very little on campus - a few lectures, studying with people, etc. During her second year, though, she really rocked the places - founding and being preseident of a student club, auditioning for and performing in a school and choir performance, and really making a lot more friends. She didn't live on campus (her second year was at a cc, while her first was at a university), but she was more part of things.

I guess I'd lean more towards working on her general studies requirements for a couple of years first, living at home, at whatever college is most convenient for you and best meets her needs, and then deciding at that point what to do next. Of course, that all works better with homeschooling... is that an option?

dar
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
...And there's no way I'd let a child that young start college so early. I'd much rather her be around kids closer to her age then throwing her in to a group of kids that are much older and in a whole different part of life than her.
She has info on programs designed specifically for kids of this age range such at the one at UW that another poster mentioned. UW has the one where kids do hs and college together -- the running start program -- and another program called EEP, I believe, where the kids all go home at night (must live locally) but are officially college students. All of the kids in this program are skipping part or all of hs and take classes together separate from the rest of the uni students for the first year or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dar
When you say mature, what do you mean, exactly? Has older friends and seem to fit with them socially, or is able to handle many of the day to day expectations society generally places on older people (such as scheduling a haircut appointment, making flight reservations, shopping and paying using a debit card, cooking and otherwise keeping house, etc), is able to competently manage her time and juggle expectations, or something else entirely? I think all would be relevant to going off to college on her own.
I am honestly more willing to consider programs like UW where she would still be at home going through adolescence while still living with us and at school during the day. The boarding/residential options make me more nervous.

In terms of mature, I guess that I mean the first of your statements (fits well with older kids socially) as well as just seeming older. She is eloquent, able to cook for herself (not everything, of course), etc.

eta: I was a little rushed when responding to this last night. In terms of the other items you mention in regard to maturity, dd is not an adult and honestly cannot do everything an adult can. She does not have a debit card. I have not asked her to run a household independently, so I have no idea as to whether she could do that. I don't really want to put that much responsibility on the shoulders of a kid who is not quite 11 yet. In two years, when she is interested in this early college option, I would still rather have her at home where we can continue to guide and teach her how to be an adult which is why commuter programs are more appealing.
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