Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
Early entrance to college is a wonderful option for many highly capable students; however, it is not the best choice for everyone. Early Entrance to College: A Guide to Success by Dr. Michelle Muratori is a helpful tool that takes a thorough and practical look at many different aspects worth considering when deciding whether or not it would be a good idea to attend college early. In addition to the research presented, one of the many valuable features of this book is the inclusion of student and parent perspectives regarding their experiences with the decision-making and enrollment processes.
There are many questions that will need to be asked and discussed as a family before a decision is made. Here are some common questions to consider: When and how will I know that I am ready to finish high school and move into a full time college atmosphere? What are my options? Am I mature and self-sufficient? Do I have the drive to work independently? Is my GPA higher than 3.0? Do I enjoy the school I am currently attending? What are normal parent and student concerns regarding early college entrance, and are there any red flags? This book provides a checklist of questions such as those listed above, discusses normal concerns vs. red flags, and presents different options that are available if early college is not right for you.
Once you have come to a decision, and if it is to attend college early, a logical first step would be to figure out precisely what you are looking for and prioritize your needs. This may consist of talking with your high school counselor and figuring out a game plan for early graduation, choosing your campus and applying, selecting a major, and so forth.
While there are various options for advanced curricula, two that are discussed in-depth are entering college independently and attending an early entrance program. Chapter six provides a synopsis of the early entrance programs that are available throughout the United States. These are special programs designed specifically for early entrants. Currently, there are seventeen prominent early entrance programs in the country. Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Texas, Alaska, Missouri, and Georgia, are several states that have schools offering this option.
If you are a student who has attempted to go to college and hasn’t found a school that will make an exception for a younger student, you are not alone. Many families often ask which universities accept younger students. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to this question; it is solely based on the individual. Chapter seven provides the viewpoints of many admissions deans and directors of colleges/universities. Not only does the chapter offer interesting insights from the admissions perspective, it also provides recommended courses of action when approaching admissions. Plus, Muratori states, “In addition to academic preparedness, it is imperative that you are socially and emotionally mature enough to handle the demands of college at a younger age” (p. 149). If the admissions team suspects an applicant has certain deficits (e.g., lack of maturity) that would detract from the community they are trying to build, they may not be willing to take a chance on admitting a particular student—especially a younger one.
Early Entrance to College: A Guide to Success by Dr. Michelle Muratori is not only a good resource for parents, but is also a helpful tool for educators, counselors, and most importantly, students. This is a useful guide comprised of practical questions, strategies, and information to assist in guiding one’s decision as to whether or not early college is a viable option.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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