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Does anyone know how to 'skip HS' and go straight to college?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Our DS is in a wonderful small private non-profit school and is doing very well. But this school only goes to 8th grade. We strongly believe that public high school is fundamentally useless. 

 

Public high school time is split up with the majority of that time being filled with socially inappropriate behavior and social pressures that can hinder any real learning or advancement. Between that and the non stop NCLB act testing, the pressures are perverse. And if anything, the current system can cause a formerly excited learner to cave in and despise education. Our local HS is huge and the bigger these places are, the more pronounced the nonsense seems to be. 

 

We have heard of situations when a student can skip HS altogether and replace it with a pre college program, Middle College, or 'other'...

 

Does anyone have any information or experience in this area? What works, what does not, what options exist??? Any info is very much appreciated.

 

Deb

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post #2 of 40

Probably useless, since i'm in the UK, but i have a friend who missed all HS from age 12 onwards due to illness and then did a 1-year "access to arts" course to gain entry to a (very good) university.  But she did this as an adult of course.  The universities here will only take students under 16 with a chaperone and in very unusual circumstances (i used to work in accommodation, which once had to house a 15 year old russian genius who had only been admitted to begin physics because his birthday fell within the first semester).

 

Does your son know where he'd like to go to college?  Perhaps you could contact specific schools about this.  There are almost always ways to get around things.  I also have a friend who was "homeschooled" for high school (she says her mother's idea of homeschooling was to give her the bus fare to the library every day, so not homeschooling in the sense probably many many people here are doing it) and she too just picked a university, enquired as to what she'd need for entry (for her they wanted exam grades since she was at an age of entry where others were coming from HS) and went off and arranged an opportunity for herself to sit those exams.  She's a PhD now.

post #3 of 40

First, I enrolled through what was called the Dual Enrollment program at a local community college while being on the books as homeschooled for my high school. After a couple semesters of that, I officially dropped out of school and immediately got my GED (had to be 16 and have completed 10th grade to be eligible in FL) and enrolled normally in college. If social pressures are a problem, college may or may not help. Granted the fellow students have gotten past the rebellious immature stage somewhat, but there might be more adult challenges he needs to be ready for. He's personally responsibly for the choice to go to class or not, and might end up in relationships with older girls, invited to different kinds of parties, or might have trouble even fitting in and making friends with people 3, 4, maybe 10 or more years older than him. For me, some of the teachers were really good and the class environment was easy to learn in, and the state paid my tuition for those first couple years until I moved and went to university. Anyway if these programs aren't available for another couple years yet homeschooling is an option, but really needs attentive direction (make opportunities where he has interests, encourage him to better any weaknesses, check on work *often* to praise and encourage), and offer many ways to interact socially and academically with peers and adults. I just got left home alone with textbooks before I started college and that did not work for me. Look into homeschool co-ops that do high school too for choices besides just private, public, and home.

post #4 of 40

Post this in Learning at Home.  Many home school teens start taking university classes during the high school age and start college, either early or gradually.  Frankly I think the way high school is now, much of it is simply exhausting and redundant if the child is college bound. 

 

Did he happen to do college entrance exams for a talent search in 7th?  Or will he?

post #5 of 40

Off the top of my head:

 

-cyber school

-straight forward homeschool, and enter as such

Do the SAT, have a portfolio

-dual enrollment at university or community college.  It allows kids to earn credit towards their degree (and high school) - if they do well, it is a mark they can use to prove they are capable of doing the uni or college work.  

-GED 

-enter as a mature student

-you can often get credits for Prior Learning

 

The biggest hint would be to look at the admission requirements for several colleges and universities in your area and see what the requirements are for homeschoolers.  Plan accordingly.

 

And, yes, post in the learning at home forum.

post #6 of 40

 

I imagine the answer depends on your location, what kind of program you (and your ds) wants and what level he's at now.

 

Skipping high school entirely would be a challenge for many students. Could he pass the GED or otherwise demonstrate that he's ready academically for college-level courses? Aside from the academics, there is the college readiness aspect. For many students, high school is their first encounter with full rotary schedules, program (majors and specialties like business, arts, or technology) and course (applied, academic or enriched levels in all courses as well as deciding electives) selection, increased workload, and independent learning expectations. Jumping from the cosseted life of middle school, where pretty much everything is decided for you, past high school, where the student starts making choices, to college where the student is fully responsible for almost all decisions can be quite a leap. 

 

For alternatives to traditional high school in my area, there are alternative schools with "facilitated" or independent studies, distance learning programs, cyberstudies, homeschooling, exchange programs, school-at-sea .... I think there's a pretty long list. A lot would depend on what your DS wants, what kind of environment he enjoys and suits him best.  

 

For alternatives that involve a college, I would contact the colleges in your area and ask about admission criteria.  

post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I imagine the answer depends on your location, what kind of program you (and your ds) wants and what level he's at now.


 

agreed. there is an alternative program where I live that allows teens to take classes at community college while being enrolled in a on-line high school program run through the school district.

 

But I don't know what there is where YOU live. I'd start by making some calls to the community college and talking to the counselors.

post #8 of 40

Like others have said, depends on your area. In our area, we have several options. We have a middle college program which allows a select group of 11th and 12th graders to take all their courses at the community college for both high and college credit. This program is run by the high school districts so you'd have to talk to them to apply, not the community college. Outside that though, getting onto the campus prior to age 16 can be difficult and reserved for profoundly gifted children who HAVE completed their advanced level high school courses. For those who haven't, taking the CASHEE (likely named something else in your state) can be an option. The CASHEE is the only high school equivalency in our state you can take under 16 though it's meant more for minors looking to emancipate. The GED is meant for adults but you can apply for special permission to take it as young as 16.

 

Some things to take into consideration. It's one thing to to go to a community college and take your general ed's for the university along with other 4-year university minded adults. It can be quite another to take high school level classes with adults who are still in need of high school courses. The quality of students can be drastically different and the pacing can be slower than a course on the high school campus.

 

You mentioned your local high school but have you looked into alternative high school programs? I know our county has many including all sorts of magnets that group like-minded kids and the campus culture can be significantly different. My own goes to an audition-based creative and performing arts high school magnet. On her campus, there are only geeks lol. No jocks, no queen bees... just artists who march to the beat to their own drummer and think it's great fun to play the ukelele at lunch. DD started as a younger 13 and it's been her best social and emotional year yet! There are many different charters that aren't beholden to state curriculum including project based learning schools. There is virtual high which we know a few kids who participate (though these are kids who are heavily involved in interest based activities and so beat the iscolation that way.) How about an International Bacculaurete school? You don't say what grade your child is in but most of these specialty schools require applications and paperwork to be in by the fall of their 8th grade year.

 

post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
There are many different charters that aren't beholden to state curriculum including project based learning schools.


My children attend a K-12 STEM charter school; as a pp said, all geeks and no jocks, but they still have to do state testing.

post #10 of 40

You can have the child take CLEP tests and online courses also.  Once you get so many credits, then generally you can apply for regular admission as a "transfer" student, in which case things like age and high school diploma don't really matter as much.  

post #11 of 40

Every charter school and cyber school in our state MUST do state testing. Private schools don't have to. 

 

But I don't think it's enough to base one's choice on. There are some lovely charter high schools in my city, and it would be silly for a parent to rule them out based on the state test.

post #12 of 40

The high school counselors should have information on that but a child has to be very academically advanced even to just replace a couple high school classes with college ones around here.  It is called dual enrollment here.  It may not be the better option though, especially if there are a lot of young partiers on campus.  As bad as high school is college is worse.  In high school they do some regulating, in college there is none and it is very easy for a teenager to get up to no good daily without parents knowing.  If you are able to home school or use a private high school then you should consider that route.  Even then your child may have to be tested depending on your state laws (my state requires it for accredited schools even if they are private but not homeschooling families).   

post #13 of 40

Why not homeschool?

post #14 of 40

Homeschooling is probably the most convenient option, but if your child is very bright there are a lot of non-high-school options such as the Davidson Academy in Reno. Also check out the Hoagies' Gifted Schools list. 

post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debnicolai View Post

 

Public high school time is split up with the majority of that time being filled with socially inappropriate behavior and social pressures that can hinder any real learning or advancement. Between that and the non stop NCLB act testing, the pressures are perverse. And if anything, the current system can cause a formerly excited learner to cave in and despise education. Our local HS is huge and the bigger these places are, the more pronounced the nonsense seems to be.

 


This is very school specific, and you really can't paint all public HSs with that brush.

 

post #16 of 40
Many colleges will not accept students without a HS diploma -- at least the ones around here. I ended up going to a state university, it was the only one that didn't require a diploma -- but I only skipped senior year (well, sort of junior year too, long story) so I don't know about going from 8th to college. I do feel that I would have gotten a *better* college education had I gone to a different college (which would have involved waiting 'til I had a diploma & doing dual enrollment or something I guess) but for me, leaving HS was the only option, and I can't say it's affected my career at all to have gotten what I feel is an inferior college education -- degrees matter very little in my field actually. But it's something to think about, depending what field your DS wants to go into. Maybe I should have considered getting my GED, but I don't many colleges wanted that either, just a diploma IIRC.

I am curious why you want to skip straight to college rather than private highschool or homeschool? There were a good number of ~16yo's at my college (mostly from other countries where formal learning is accelerated)... but I don't recall any younger kids and I have a hard time imagining a 13yo fitting in well in college -- both socially and academically -- but I guess it depends whether he would live at home or on campus, whether he's 'advanced' or 'on track', etc.

I also ended up staying in college for 5 years (got 2 totally unrelated bachelors and did other studies etc.) because I finished my first bachelor's in ~2 years and I just didn't feel ready to go out into the 'real world' yet. So that's something else to consider. Maybe that was just me, maybe some teens are ready to have full-time careers and all before age 20... I do think I made the right choice emotionally/socially/academically by skipping ahead (and wish I'd done it a year or two sooner!) but financially it would have been much cheaper if I'd gone with some other plan...
post #17 of 40

One of my children plans to take the GED when she is 16.She has no interest in attending public  HS,or doing an additional 4 years of schooling through any of the online charter/public schools.

post #18 of 40

I skipped my junior and senior year of HS and went to straight to college - I went to Simon's Rock College of Bard (now I think it is called Bard College at Simon's Rock).  It is a four year private college very small, fairly expensive (but aren't they all) and it offers a liberal arts education.  It is located in Berkshire's in MA.  It is college, it is challenging academically.  Many students go the first 2 years and then transfer to a more mainstream college for the remaining 2 (which is what I did) though they offer a 4 year BA degree.  Student's have to be mature enough to live on their own though.  The majority of students when I went there started when they were 16.  I don't think a 14 year old would have socially adjusted well.

This was 20 years ago but at the time the application process was the same as any college - SATs, transcripts, application essays, interview.  Not sure what requirements they have for homeschooled students.

It is definitely not the school for everyone but I would suggest looking in to it.

post #19 of 40

another mom saying look into all the high schools around you.

 

have you checked out the IB program high schools? In our state IB programs are weighed equally with AP programs. its an intense academic program and your son has to be committed to doing it.   

 

the one i have in my city is because of that program one of the best HS in our city. yes its far from where we live. but we might even contemplate moving closer to there. that school does some amazing work and i am impressed by the kids who go there. yes they do their teenage thing but the IB program binds them together and they are kinda like a family. 

 

with the present budget cuts in our state its now even more difficult to take a college class before you are 16. apart from the hard application process they have to fight regular students to sign up for classes and its all v. dismal here. 

 

also a lot depends on the personality of the child. has he faced any bullying or teasing and does he know to defend himself? the reason why i ask is that college does not mean you dont avoid all of the ills of high school. 

 

 

 

 

post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debnicolai View Post

Our DS is in a wonderful small private non-profit school and is doing very well. But this school only goes to 8th grade. We strongly believe that public high school is fundamentally useless. 

 

Public high school time is split up with the majority of that time being filled with socially inappropriate behavior and social pressures that can hinder any real learning or advancement. Between that and the non stop NCLB act testing, the pressures are perverse. And if anything, the current system can cause a formerly excited learner to cave in and despise education. Our local HS is huge and the bigger these places are, the more pronounced the nonsense seems to be.

 

Make sweeping generalizations much?

 

Have you been to the local high school? I get irked when people dismiss their local public schools without ever having set foot in them or talked to people who are currently there. I'm not saying that the high school is the best place for your child (since you consider it useless, it's unlikely your child would thrive there), but please don't slander all public schools without some facts to back it up.

 

Personally, I'd recommend home-schooling, given your strongly held opinions, and the GED in 2 years - 3 years, whenever your child has mastered enough content. The GED is useful in a lot of situations, and would get you admissions to a 4 year or a 2 year college. With a GEd, you you can figure out where to go from there.
 

 

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