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(Early) College Success Stories

"If these options for advancement had not been available to students..., boredom and lazy learning habits could have developed, Davis says, causing problems throughout their lives. Gifted students begin having problems when their intelligence is mismatched with their curriculum..." Sara Tennessen, in Little Man on Campus

See also ... (Early) College Planning, Early Entrance College Programs, College Scholarships and Twice Exceptional Students in College

12-year-old begins medical school by Chicago, Illinois (AP)
Sho isn't in junior high. He's a first-year medical school student at the University of Chicago, where he's the youngest ever to attend one of the university's professional schools...
 
14-year-old is youngest ever to enroll in University of North Texas' Honors College by Amy Dodd Thompson, Denton Record-Chronicle
s far as University of North Texas administrators can recall, Lauren Coker is the only 14-year-old to ever enroll in the Honors College there. But her older classmates don't intimidate the freshman, who says college has been good for her. "It's probably the best environment I've been in," Lauren said. Professors are open to questions and opinions, she said, and she feels she's learning – and learning a lot – at a good pace...
 
14-year-old senior defies doubts by Cynthia Boyd, Twincities.com Pioneer Press
There's no doubt he's smart.  After all, he graduates fifth in his class at Spring Lake Park High School on Saturday. He has a 3.9 grade point average. He's taken a string of honors classes. He slam-dunked 11 college courses. He's hitched a practically free ride to a respected, out-of-state university.  And -- oh, yeah -- he's only 14...
 
15-year-old high school grad prepares for college this fall by Jennifer Beeler, Martinsville Bulletin
Typically at the age of 15, teenagers are thinking about getting through high school.  But Annemarie Westphalen, 15, is picking out her fall semester courses and thinking about decorating her dorm room at Hollins University.  Early on, her mother realized that Annemarie was unusually intelligent for her age when she wrote and delivered a speech at her preschool graduation. She even preferred to read books during nap time.  “She was smart,” Jeanne Westphalen recalled, “but we just had no idea...”
 
19-year-old Okoye poised to join NFL by John Zenzor (AP)
Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye wants to be a top 5 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, help his team to the Super Bowl as a rookie and do a good job managing all that money. Being able to legally grab a beer with his teammates will have to wait a couple of years.  He started school at age 2 1/2 , skipped sixth grade and entered high school in Huntsville at 12 after his family moved from Nigeria...
 
After-school activity? Try college by Mark Clayton
Christian Science Monitor: After lunch, he grabs a different pile of textbooks and heads off to college... "I do miss out on stuff. But in 30 years it's not going to matter whether I missed my freshman dance or not. Instead of flipping burgers, I'll be out making a difference."
 
Age has been no barrier to this freshman by Mitchell Milbourn
Sarah Shive looks like a normal Marietta College student, but there is one important fact most students do not know about her. Shive is a thirteen-year-old child prodigy from a small town... Update from Sarah's mom: Sarah completed law school at Ohio State Moritz College of Law this spring, and this morning received word that she has passed the Ohio Bar. She will be admitted to the Ohio State Bar on Nov 5 at the ripe old age of 20. She had to petition the Supreme Court of Ohio for an exception since she is not 21. Another success story!
 
Boca math whiz, 18, earns master's degree from FAU and heads to Princeton
Arie Israel isn't your typical doctoral candidate.  He doesn't have a bachelor's degree.  He never received a high school diploma.  In fact, he's barely old enough to vote.  But today, on his 18th birthday, the Boca Raton whiz kid will get his master's degree in mathematics from Florida Atlantic University. And next month, he will attend Princeton University, where he will enroll in a math Ph.D. program. One of the world's top mathematicians recommended him for the program.  But Israel doesn't see his accomplishment as any extraordinary feat...
 
Boredom, bet lands kid in college at 12 by Marisa Shultz, The Detroit News
When James Ellison turned 16 last month, his first drive was not to high school -- but to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he's a junior studying physics.  Ellison is not your typical teen, although he modestly says skipping five grades is attainable feat for other kids.  "It's just easy," said the Lincoln Park teen. "I don't understand why other kids couldn't do the same thing."  Ellison found himself in college at age 12 because of boredom and a bet...
 
CU's new BMOC: boy marvel on campus by Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News
Thirteen-year-old Ryan Kramer isn't into model airplanes. He wants to design real ones. In the fall, Kramer will become one of the youngest students ever to enroll at the University of Colorado, where he will major in aerospace engineeringRyan will graduate in May as the youngest person to receive an aerospace engineering degree in the US!
 
Early Entrance to College: Students' Stories by Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
The essays that follow describe the fears, anxieties, hopes, problems, and triumphs of 11 students who chose to go to college early... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
An Eight-Year Evaluation of SMPY: What Was Learned? by Camilla Persson Benbow and Julian C. Stanley
We have examined the validity of SMPY's identification and educational facilitation procedures by means of longitudinal research. These principles, practices, and techniques were shown to be effective and transportable to various settings. If there is a special lesson to be learned thus far, it is that curricular flexibility, augmented by special fast-paced courses, can work wonders for young, able, highly motivated students...
 
Finishing College When Most Begin by Jacques Steinberg
In the fall, he will begin studying at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, among the youngest recipients of the scholarship in at least two decades. "He's just as typical as any 18-year-old," the father said. "He's very mature, but he messes up, just as we all do, from time to time."
 
Five Years of Early Entrants: Predicting Successful Achievement in College by Linda Brody, Susan Assouline, and Julian Stanley
This study evaluated the achievements of 65 young entrants as beginning undergraduates in a highly selective university. The group as a whole was found to be quite successful. Compared to nonaccelerants, the early entrants tended to graduate in a shorter period of time and earn more honors at graduation
 
Gee Whiz! Kid 
THERE AREN'T many 16-year-olds who are PhD students. Meet Gábor Lukács. The Hungarian-born teen is at York this year starting doctoral studies in mathematics and statistics...
 
I'd Much Rather be Here Than in High School An Interview with Carwil James, an Early Entrant to Northwestern University
Carwil's advice to students considering early entrance...
 
Karisa Solt: NJIT's Youngest Graduate by Robert Florida
At 14, she took a physics course at NJIT and, later the same year, took the SATs — “just for fun.” She scored 1450. At 15, Karisa was admitted, on full scholarship, to NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College, where she majored in biomedical engineering. At 18, she finished her class work and became the youngest student ever to graduate from NJIT....
 
Kid on Campus By Cristina Rouvalis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Any 13-year-old is a walking contradiction, a tug between adult and childlike urges. But when you start college at the newsmaking age of 12, the contradictions are even more startling.  Jessica's mom says "They are ready for college. Colleges don't accept them if they are not ready."
 
Little Man on Campus by Sara Tennessen
They come to college in search of knowledge they cannot find in their high schools, middle schools or even elementary schools. And although these kids are sometimes a little shorter and a lot smarter than their classmates, they are accepted as peers and welcome the challenges they encounter... 
 
Love and Work: The Legacy of Early University Entrance by Kathleen D. Noble, Robert C. Vaughan, Christina Chan, Sarah Childers, Bryan Chow, Ariel Federow, and Sean Hughes
Early university entrants do not fit the stereotype of the socially isolated, unhappy “nerd.” Yes, they value intelligence highly. Yes, they seek a high degree of intellectual satisfaction and challenge in all aspects of their lives, both personal and professional. Yet overall the participants in this study revealed themselves to be well-rounded, balanced individuals... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
More About "Young Entrants to College: How Did They Fare?" by Julian C. Stanley and Ann M. McGill
Do students who enter college two or more years younger than the typical age develop well academically, socially, and emotionally? Do persons who graduate from college three or more years younger than the typical age prosper thereafter?  Generally, results were quite favorable for both groups, perhaps somewhat more for the young graduates...
 
Musical Prodigy to Graduate by Lisa Klinonsky
At 16, is youngest member of senior class at U-M...  Today, eight years after he first played for U-M music faculty, 16-year-old Cullen recently played his final recital for his teachers
 
Phillips Family Spans a Century at Carnegie Mellon
On the surface, Emilie Phillips looks no different than other Carnegie Mellon students, but two things distinguish her from her fellow graduates: She's the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Carnegie Mellon and she's only 18 years old...
 
Real Genius by Benjamin Potter
It’s a story almost worthy of Hollywood.  In fact, similar tales have been spun with typical West Coast dazzle, where gifted children often are depicted as frail recluses, robot-like super-geeks or bumbling social misfits.  Twelve-year-old Alex Brueggeman, however, has a cheery disposition that lacks the drama of the silver screen. Instead, he lives a well-balanced life that includes attending The University of Memphis...
 
They Went to College Early by The Fund for the Advancement of Education (1957)
Reviews the Program for Early Admission to College of the Fund for the Advancement of Education.  Includes details on the colleges, the students, academic performance, social and emotional adjustment, and more...
 
UP Diliman Class of 2007 has 8 top honors (UP Diliman Information Office), Philippines
Mikaela Irene D. Fudolig, BS Physics with a GWA of 1.099, will lead the top honors. She will also deliver the valedictory address on behalf of the graduating class.  Only 16 years old, Fudolig is the youngest student to be graduated by the University in the recent years and one of only two admitted to UPD without a high school diploma and without taking the UP College Admission Test...  Also read College life begins @ 11
 
Where do you go when you're too smart for school? by Bob Braun, NJ Star-Ledger
To have a profoundly gifted child, the Killpack family of Highland Park has learned, is a joy mixed with problems. "We'd be happy to find a school that meets his needs," says Daniel Killpack.  He and his wife of 19 years, Patricia, are parents of Dakota, a 14-year-old young man who has been out of school nearly all his life -- until he enrolled at Middlesex County College and earned an associate's degree.  Dakota started college at 9, in Colorado...
 
World’s youngest professor can’t legally drink by Bob Considine, on the TODAY Show
Alia Sabur, a prodigy in many ways, says she wants to share her knowledge... Also read Sweet 16 -- and a grad student by Carrie Stetler, The Star-Ledger. She read at 8 months. Now she's the nation's youngest doctoral candidate.  "Everyone is always surprised when they talk to me," says Alia, a Long Island native. "I'm not weird or quiet or showing you how amazingly smart I am."  For Alia, college was a relief. "People were very respectful and accepting," she said. "They weren't patronizing." Older articles: At 14, she's working for a Ph.D. in engineering, Teen is musically talented, too. and Pomp and Unique Circumstance: SUNY prodigy, 14, all set to graduate by Olivia Winslow
 
Young, Gifted and Skipping High School: Va. College Feeds Academic Cravings by Maria Glod, Washington Post
The school [Mary Baldwin College] offers students as young as 12 a jump-start on college in one of the leading programs of its kind. It also gives brainy girls a chance to be with others like them. By all accounts, they are ready for the leap socially and emotionally, and they crave it academically....
 
Young law school grad skips the bars and tries to pass the bar instead by Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
At an age when most of her peers are just finishing high school and heading to college, Kathleen Holtz is already punching the clock at a Century City law firm.  She has no doubts about acing July's grueling law exam -- the final hurdle to becoming a bona fide lawyer. "I felt the bar exam went very well," she said.  That kind of bravado can be expected from someone who started college (Cal State LA) at age 10 and entered law school at 15. 18-Year-Old Kathleen Holtz Passes the California Bar
 
Young man on campus: For 13-year-old college student, it's all adding up by Susan Chaityn Lebovits (Boston Globe)
For most of his life, 13 year-old Roland Liu has been an outsider in school. That changed this month when he moved on campus to the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering to begin his freshman year. Despite being half a decade younger than the other freshmen, Liu said he finally feels like he belongs...
 
Young Mr. Smith Goes to College by Jennifer Lenhart (Washington Post)
It was the first day of the fall semester at Randolph-Macon, and Greg, a 10-year-old who only three years ago started second grade, was eager to begin his freshman year
 
Young Teen College Students Report Happiness on WSB TV
Students who entered college when they were 12 to 14 years old don't fit the stereotype of unhappy "nerds" who are humorless, isolated misfits, according to a new study. University of Washington research paints a different and much more positive and multi-faceted portrait of these gifted students. "In reality they are extremely versatile, interested, interesting and sociable," ...
 
Young trees bear fruit in China's program for gifted teens
They are a group of prodigies who have skipped years of primary and even secondary school education to enter college at a tender age -- mostly under 15 and the youngest at 11.  Most of them have continued to amaze the world with flying colors later on, academically and professionally...

 
Last updated October 23, 2012
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