Bright students often feel bored and unhappy in high school. Some are accelerated and run out of classes to take at their schools. Others are simply ready for more challenging courses at a college or university. For these students, early entrance programs can be a welcome solution to their problems.
Early entrance programs are formal programs at colleges and universities across the country to support students in college who have not completed the traditional 8 semesters of high school. Studies have shown that these students typically fare extremely well academically and well socially and emotionally. Over 90% of students who skipped all 4 years of high school reported having at least 1 best friend.
That said, early college entrance isn’t for everyone. Students should consider these factors when deciding if an early college program is right for them:
- Do you really want to attend college? Are you, yourself, excited about the academic challenge? Make sure you aren’t going because your parents are pushing you.
- Have you previously been successful with college-level courses? If not, consider trying a few before matriculating to college.
- Are you okay with not having the typical “high school experience?” You won’t get prom or a high school graduation. Is that okay with you?
- Would early college entrance mean attending a less prestigious college than you’d like? If so, make sure that this is okay with you.
- Are you prepared to be much more independent than most students your age? You’ll get a freedom most students don’t get until they’re 18.
- Is your family supportive? Ideally, you want your whole family on board during this process.
If you think that early college might be right for you, take a look at the list below. These programs fully immerse students into the college. They are not dual enrollment programs. There are a number of programs that do function as dual enrollment programs where students enrolled in high school also take a few college courses. Furthermore, many colleges, including many of the most prestigious, will accept students who haven’t completed high school. However, they do not have formal programs to support students through the transition.
- Academy for Young Scholars at the University of Washington
- Advanced Academy of Georgia at the University of West Georgia
- Bard College at Simon’s Rock
- The Clarkson School at Clarkson University
- Early Entrance Program at California State University
- Early Entrant Program at Shimer College
- Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University
- Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin College
- Resident Honors Program at University of Southern California