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    #241182 - 02/05/18 11:31 AM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    I have a 17-year-old who finished a dual enrollment program at 17. He could have finished at 16, and we all agreed that he wouldn't be ready for college at that age. They let him stay for another year and he got an AA in a subject that isn't what he's studying now (broader education benefit). At 17, he's a bit younger than other college freshmen, but close enough to their ages that he's having what he calls a regular college experience.

    A boy in his class is 15 (maybe 16 now). He has to live at home and isn't having a regular college experience. His classmates see him as an oddity who isn't one of them, though they would never say that to him. So he isn't getting an opportunity to socialize with people his age. He's an outsider. This matters. He also lacks independence, and doesn't get an opportunity to take a big step of going away from home and starting to fend for himself while there's still a financial safety net.

    I realize that many people here advocate strongly for early college, but my advice is to be very careful. Your child may have been in classes with older kids for a long time, but this doesn't make your child their age. A sixteen-year-old may be living at a college, but in social activities, people will may worry that a minor will get hurt or get in trouble and they'll take the fall for it. And then there is the very real gap in age and experience that people here (IMO) tend to ignore. You cannot wish away a large gap in age and experience with a high IQ.

    I also realize that people here write about themselves or their kids being happy or fine in early college, but the problem is that the response set may be biased. People who were miserable or whose kids had serious problems often don't want to make the problems public. I know of cases like this, for example.

    I understand that very bright kids have educational needs that aren't aligned with high school. But there are often options like dual enrollment, the Davidson academy, community colleges and suchlike that allow the student to take classes at an appropriate level while also interacting with people the same age as they are. Again, age does matter during adolescence, and physical development and experience cannot be wished away with a high IQ.

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    #241188 - 02/05/18 02:26 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: Val]
    SFrog Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/07/11
    Posts: 156
    Loc: IA, USA
    Originally Posted By: Val
    You cannot wish away a large gap in age and experience with a high IQ.


    No, but you also cannot treat a high IQ, emotionally mature 16 year old as if they are a child. Well, you can try to treat them that way, but I don't think they'll like it.

    Just as my daughter would have been miserable only being a junior in HS instead of being a freshman in college, she also would be miserable living at home going to CC instead of going off to college like all of (what she, and we, consider) her peers. She's been with her grade peers for more than half of her K-12 schooling, and very much views those students two grades below her as "kids".

    As a parent it is our job to prepare our kids to live life without us always being around. For some kids that time comes a little earlier than for others (and for some it comes even later). We took an active role in the college search and helped our daughter find a small LAC that she felt comfortable at. As an added bonus, she is able to compete on an NCAA (D3) athletic team so she came into college with an instant social group.

    Best of luck,
    --S.F.
    _________________________
    For gifted children, doing nothing is the wrong choice.

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    #241189 - 02/05/18 02:56 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    I'm with Val on this one. No matter how intelligent and mature our children are, there are often going to be things where they are very much their age. Physiology has its own timetable.

    For example, my DD13 just marked herself as behind age norms, nevermind her grade peers now that she's grade-skipped, when she said that she remains convinced that boys have cooties. Her cohort are spending time talking about boys and who likes who, and she's bored by the whole thing. Given that information at this point in time, it's easy to project forward and imagine that the sexual atmosphere that pervades most college dorms would not be a suitable environment for her four years hence.

    I'm not sure why a 16yo should be so miserable going to college while still living at home. Lots of much older kids do it.

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    #241190 - 02/05/18 04:14 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3612
    Although my personal experiences, and those of most early entrants I've known, have been net positive, I expect there is some validity to the contention that there is selection bias in these anecdotes. The many non-academic factors are why this is very much an individual and family decision, like so much else about raising outliers.

    Some assorted thoughts:

    Under our existing age/grade-locked system, there will always be trade offs to acceleration. But there are costs to not accelerating as well. LOG, social skills, degree of acceleration, level of institutional, community and family support, gender, physical and emotional maturity, areas of giftedness, executive functions, among many other factors, all contribute to your personal calculus.

    Some 16-year-olds "pass" more easily among traditionally-aged college students than others. I think girls usually have an edge here, based on physical and social development.

    Nothing wrong with living at home during college. Plenty of typically-aged and older college students do it, for eminently practical reasons. There is not only one "college experience".

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    #241197 - 02/06/18 07:54 AM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    mecreature Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/11
    Posts: 354
    I am with Val on this. I'm not sure I would post here if things were going bad with early college. I guess it depending on what it was.

    Ds is 15 and we have talked about this. He says he wants to have his high school experience even if he does have all the credits he needs. Its kind of funny though because when ever we are in a group setting he always takes a seat with the adults and immediately jumps into the conversation.

    We have plans in place if needed where he can start at a local university and take math and computer science courses.

    He has several friends went off to boarding schools this last year to New Hampshire and Massachusetts and other places. He said he can really understand the attraction of this.

    Maybe it is the fact that I would like to have him around for the extra year. I enjoy his company.


    Then there is a side note, he has no idea what he wants to do yet.

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    #241199 - 02/06/18 08:53 AM Re: College at 16 [Re: mecreature]
    SFrog Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/07/11
    Posts: 156
    Loc: IA, USA
    Originally Posted By: mecreature
    ...wants to have his high school experience even if he does have all the credits he needs.

    Sorry if I was not clear in my daughter's case, though she started college at 16, she did complete all 4 years of HS. All told, she was able to have a pretty complete HS experience: homecomings, prom, varsity sport, marching band, boyfriends, class trips, etc. Unless I misread, the OPs son will also have completed HS before going to college.


    Originally Posted By: Dude
    I'm not sure why a 16yo should be so miserable going to college while still living at home. Lots of much older kids do it.


    Our DD was ready for the next step of her life. Maybe miserable is too strong of a word, but she certainly would have felt like we were holding her back. During her JHU-CTY summer camps, one of the things she loved the most was living in the dorms and meeting people from different parts of the country and world.

    --S.F.
    _________________________
    For gifted children, doing nothing is the wrong choice.

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    #241204 - 02/06/18 11:41 AM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Originally Posted By: Val
    A boy in his class is 15 (maybe 16 now). He has to live at home and isn't having a regular college experience. His classmates see him as an oddity who isn't one of them, though they would never say that to him. So he isn't getting an opportunity to socialize with people his age. He's an outsider. This matters. He also lacks independence, and doesn't get an opportunity to take a big step of going away from home and starting to fend for himself while there's still a financial safety net.


    Excellent point.

    As with a lot of these issues, asynchrony colours the decision heavily. Most of our children *could* matriculate to university early, but that doesn't mean their long term best interests are served by completing their studies thisfast. University is a holistic experience--a coming of age, a social lab, an opportunity to develop adult self-concept, an environment to build lifelong relationships, to think through difficult questions. Maturity is a key component of success in these other non-academic, but arguably important, lessons.

    I finished my first round of grad school when I was 20, and returned for a victory lap at 24, with work experience in the intervening years. Throughout the experience, I was about 3-4 years younger than most of my cohort. I was newly 17 when I matriculated as a sophomore in undergrad, and was grateful for the additional "baking" time, because I wouldn't have been ready to live alone at 16. I'm not a prodigy, though, and was happy to be a generalist, so maybe my case is more garden variety than outlier.

    My experience the second time was much richer, I was able to take on more significant challenges, and assume leadership positions that built me life-long connections and skills. The extra years in the "real world" also gave me a deeper, more human perspective. Questions or perspectives that would have seemed foreign to me at a younger age were more accessible, and my learning was more thorough.

    I agree with aeh regarding gender. I think gender plays into the degree of success accelerants have in socializing into an older peer group. It's more socially acceptable for younger females to associate with older peers, particularly in the context of personal relationships.

    For my son, I'm seeing similar social needs to my own, and am inclined to provide greater breadth of subject area study in high school (ideally, dual-enrollment) to fill the time to 17/18 with meaningful, new study. Having a depth of knowledge in a wide range of subject areas--or spending time in a start-up or doing research before enrolling in university--gives students the opportunity to build their perspective holistically, buy some time maturity-wise, and take full advantage of the richness offered by university life. In all but the most unusual circumstances, I would recommend my son live away from home, because his personality is strongly social and independent. (He's 6 now, so this is nothing but premature and subject to wild changes over time!)

    I have serious doubts about the merit of sending a 14-15 year-old to university outside the context of SSA in an area of strength, and without strong parental supports, absent compelling personal factors.

    Originally Posted By: Dude
    I'm not sure why a 16yo should be so miserable going to college while still living at home. Lots of much older kids do it.


    It depends on the student, the family, the school, finances, the program, etc. A cost-conscious, introverted student who has close local family ties, who isn't overly concerned about socializing, and who is in a more autonomous program of study would find the experience just dandy. By contrast, an extrovert who is eager to taste independence, thrives in new social networks, and is in a more interactive program of study will feel isolated and not benefit fully from university if living off-campus.

    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Under our existing age/grade-locked system, there will always be trade offs to acceleration. But there are costs to not accelerating as well. LOG, social skills, degree of acceleration, level of institutional, community and family support, gender, physical and emotional maturity, areas of giftedness, executive functions, among many other factors, all contribute to your personal calculus.


    All true! There really isn't one path to acceleration.

    Acceleration can be concentrated later in life, if needs can be met in the interim with breadth and judicious subject/whole grade accelerations. In my case, I only had one year of acceleration through middle school, two in high school, and another 1 in university. By back-end loading the acceleration, filling the gap in the interim with a laundry list of extra-curriculars, and arranging side agreements with teachers to conduct a lot of independent study work in parallel with the class, I was able to make quick progress when I was socially and intellectually ready. FWIW, I'm the social brand of giftie, and rounding out the EQ side of the equation was, itself, a fulfilling exercise.

    YMMV, as with all things giftie!


    Edited by aquinas (02/06/18 11:54 AM)
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #241211 - 02/06/18 01:37 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    SpritesMom Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 02/05/18
    Posts: 1
    Loc: Wisconsin
    My DD will be starting college next March (the college does trimesters) at 15. She is currently a 14yo sophomore and her high school is already running out of classes for her. We live in a rural area so her going to the local community college isn't an option & online offerings which will transfer to the college aren't available without me paying out-of-pocket which I can't do. Sometimes you don't really have any other options.

    She is the first student in the school district to graduate more than a semester early and while the staff have allowed her to accelerate & skip classes we are completely on our own. Most days I feel like I am drowning. She says she feels isolated. There is no support. I only hope she can find her place at college with like-minded students.
    _________________________
    Do the thing you are afraid to do

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    #241212 - 02/06/18 01:39 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: MsFriz]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3612
    Thoughtful responses from everyone, as usual.

    For some I have known, the cognitive LOG was so extreme, without accompanying extreme social giftedness, that there would be no social fit obtained by remaining in high school through more conventional ages anyway, so the social tradeoffs were just one mismatch for another mismatch. In those cases, one might as well achieve better intellectual and academic fit. Others tried college, and then went back to middle school or high school, finding that the tradeoffs didn't add up for them. And of course, still others could have gone either way, made one or the other decision, and have gone on to satisfying lives.

    I was blessed to have a high degree of institutional, community, and family support, including immediate and extended family members going through similar experiences during the same time period, in the same institution. I had, in essence, a cohort of my own. Obviously, not everyone is so fortunate.

    Somewhat like aquinas, I also went through multiple rounds of graduate school, completing my last round at a more typical age, in addition to taking more than one undergraduate degree program. I think the "extra" years allowed me to explore areas for reasons other than a career, and also gave me the freedom to step back from a career path that turned out to be more suited to me in the hypothetical than in reality. There may or may not be significance in the progression of my graduate programs from those that were more objective, analytical, and data-driven, to those that required increasing levels of emotional and psychological maturity.

    On the one hand, letting go of the pressure to rush through high school often allows children to develop more holistically, yet on the other hand, spending four fewer years on K-12 education allowed me to engage deeply in a much more well-rounded college and post-graduate education than I might otherwise have been able to do. The correct balance is highly individual.

    And FWIW, I believe I've mentioned that I'm an ambivert whose EQ has historically been exercised predominantly from the posture of an interested observer and reflective listener. Two years of high school was plenty of field observation. wink

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    #241215 - 02/06/18 03:10 PM Re: College at 16 [Re: SpritesMom]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4224
    SpritesMom, Welcome! smile

    Have you seen the list of Early Colleges?

    In the meanwhile, for kids who may be isolated from academic/intellectual peers and are looking for some good activities to pursue fairly independently... setting goals in areas of personal interest and achieving them... enlisting the aid of an adult and signing up to begin working toward earning the Congressional Award for youth may be an option. Old post here.

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