2 months ago
Admissions Advice

Does graduating early (like at 14 or 15) make you seem more appealing to colleges?


I am graduating from High School at 14/15. Right now I have a 4.0 unweighted GPA and 4.056 weighted GPA, 1500 SAT, 3 APs, 13 Honors, and okay (maybe a 3/4 out of 6 on the Harvard Scale) ECs. I have some athletic participation: A in PE and a 23.16 on Cross Country Varsity- because there is only 5 girls lol-a 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th Place(out of like 30 girls but it was JV). That's a bit of my resume and I just wanna know if I seem appealing. Thanks!!!

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Accepted Answer
2 months ago

The only set of colleges that would find you more appealing are those that have in place some special programs for younger college students. These college are like Simon's Rock of Bard college that have excellent programs that help younger students transition into college. https://simons-rock.edu/

I think there are many good colleges that might accept you but remember that since 99% of matriculants are 18+, there are no special resources to support you specifically as a 15 year old.

Ivy League and Elite colleges like MIT/Stanford/UChicago/Duke or top Liberal Arts colleges like Williams and Amherst really have no axe to grind and probably would prefer someone closer to the normal matriculation age of 18. Why? Assimilating to a new environment where you have roommates, eat in dining halls, participate in co-curriculars like club sports, self-schedule your time and priorities outside of the set class schedule can be stressful situation even for the best academic students. If you are 15, having to fend for yourself in this ultra-competitive environment where you are less mature and less evolved, is taxing and challenging to say the least. You might be able to do the work, but the million dollar question is "will you be brought into the fold or will you be an outlier left to survive without the social comradely that is equally an important part of the college experience?"

With your stats you'd probably get into a very good school but perhaps not a top 20 school. Most successful admits from public HS (correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like you attend a Public HS correct?) have a spread of .40 pts between their UWGPA and WGPA like 3.90/4.30 because they have taken more APs/IBs. Your spread is 0.05 which shows AOs while you challenged yourself, because you only have 3 APs under your belt, you really can't show too much course rigor because of your age. Beside grades, most successful admits have higher test scores, more impressive long term ECs and as recruit able athletes the cut-off for recruiting is a 20:15 5k time at Division I schools like Ivys and Elites. Certainly less for walk-ons.

I think it's great that you are super smart for your age. But I think you have look at your future through different lens and see what you can do not only to reach your academic goals but be happy, healthy, and part of some greater community in the process.

When I got accepted into a top Ivy last cycle, I decided that I didn't want to expose myself to the risks of contracting COVID-19 (breakthrough case) in this pandemic in a huge city. So my college permitted me to defer my admission and continue my learning at a top boarding school in NE. So that's what I'm doing. I'm a PG student which is like taking an extra year of 12th grade. I'm living in a dorm with other girls 11th, 12th, PGs. I eat in a dining hall. I go to my 5 college level classes, and do fun co-curriculars like photography, writing for various school publications and working on a farm once a week. I belong to a variety of clubs and re-claimed a lost senior year that due to remote learning and online school. Yes, I will be 1 year older than when I graduate from college. However, my plans include going to grad school perhaps getting a PhD. in something or the other so does rushing through school really matter in the end I asked myself? Not really. I plan to live a long productive life and I feel that beside challenging myself academically, it's equally important to have a personal life. I find that I've met new friends at my boarding school that I will have for life and that being around a super high caliber and quality of cohorts has opened my eyes to many great people that I didn't know existed. Not only are the kids smart like myself but the most of the teachers have post graduate Ivy or Elite school education as well. I have made time for myself to self-care, meditate, read for fun, and learned to time manage better. It's not anywhere near perfect but it's better than how I was in a traditional HS setting.

I don't know if you are American or live in another country, but if you haven't looked into private boarding schools, I recommend that you check them out. Some of the better ones are Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover, St.Paul's School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Hotchkiss and Deerfield Academy. There are good day schools like Harvard-Westlake but I think they only give you a partial experience to living on your own away from your family. School such as these are much much harder curriculum wise and grade inflation is minimal.

So I leave you with the advice that sometimes the path of least resistance is not the obvious best path to take. It might seem logical to rush through HS and jump into college. I advocate for curating the best version of yourself before you apply to colleges because you will have a better experience for the time you took to prepare yourself for that once a life chapter of being an undergraduate you want to savor, enjoy and thrive in.

I think many other CV member would agree that you certainly will have challenges beyond your control if you decide to apply and matriculate into college at age 15.

Good luck.


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