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Starting College at 17

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Acceptance to college as HS Junior

Dec 2009

My daughter is almost 16 and a sophomore at Berkeley High. She is currently enrolled in Independent Study through BHS and is also taking 2 college level courses; (one at Cal). She is looks and acts very mature and has informed me she would like to graduate one year early. Because she is in independent study, she is able to accelerate and will meet criteria. My question is: Are there Ivy League and highly selective universities who would consider such a student? She has a GPA of 4.2, SAT is 2295, is fluent in French and has been in several leadership roles as well as varsity water polo. Would she be given the same consideration as someone older? I know Columbia considers such students but am not certain if there are others. Can anyone assist with this? She does not want to attend BHS for another 2 years. A concerned mom


I would look into going to prep school for a 'gap year'. My daughter is applying to prep schools as a ninth grader, and I don't have her catalogues. I seem to recall that some schools offer a gap year between HS and college- I'm sure I saw this and was intrigued but dropped it because it wasn't what I needed to know. I'm not sure of which, but it could be worth 1/2 hour of your time checking it out. Try the large East Coast schools: Taft, Hotchkiss, Exeter, Andover, Groton, Rosemary Choate, Lawrence Academy. Good luck. Prep School mom to be
First, you might start by e-mailing one of the BHS College Advisors to ask for their advice. Second, it is definitely a possibility. My son had a friend who was accepted to an outstanding, highly respected college after his junior year because he had advanced through the high school curriculum by taking extra courses summers and taking courses at Cal. However, he was not accepted at the Ivy League school he was most interested in. These days, no matter how bright a student is, it's difficult to be accepted at all the top schools. So it's always a gamble to try to apply a year early, but if the student is outstanding, it is possible. The College Advisor may be able to provide more specific information. Anonymous
Have you considered an alternative to sending your daughter to college a year early? She may be very bright and mature for her age, but for most kids, time to grow up before the independence and stresses of college is usually a good thing.

I too was a young and advanced public high school student. I spent a year between high school and college in France, where I acquired my baccalaureat. Since your daughter is fluent in French, you might consider sending her to a Francophone country, with a good program such as YFU or CIEE. And I was admitted to the Ivy League, if that's important to you...and I'm glad I had the extra year to grow up a bit more...oh, I thought I was grown up at 16/17, but I wasn't. Bonne chance...


Don't know about now as its SO much more competitive but I went to an Ivy after 3 years of high school in the late 70's. HOWEVER, it really would have been better for me to have done a gap year instead of jumping into college. I had JUST turned 17 about two weeks before school began and while academics weren't a problem, I ended up with a 20 year old boyfriend (a junior)and 20-21 year old friends as a very young freshman. After college,I went straight to grad school because at the age of 20, graduating from college I didn't know what else to do OTHER than school. Not the worst ''fate'' but in retrospect what was the hurry to grow up? Staying in high school wouldn't have been a good option for me either (I can relate to your daughter) BUT I wished I'd done a year abroad or volunteering - something that was less intense than the expectation of always being a ''high'' achiever and being ''mature''. anonymous
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