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    Joined: Apr 2023
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    13umm Offline OP
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    Hey, I'm an ambitious (young) teen who needs some advice on how to pursue my broad interests as degrees while graduating university in less than three years. I'd like to talk over private message.

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    13umm Offline OP
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    Is it possible to get five bachelor's degrees in three years if you test out of a year of elective credit via AP exams and take semesters with a lot of courses? One of my desired universities offers generous AP credit and lets students test into second year courses via Accuplacer but doesn't let students take more than 5 courses a quarter. If it's possible, I'd like to separately enroll in two universities that are rigorous and within driving distance of each other based on what each university specializes in. I could also attend one of them virtually and the other one in person. Also, do minors have to live on campus (assuming I graduate as a minor)? I'd like to live off campus.

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    Many things are possible, but haven't been tried frequently enough to know the specific university's policies. I would encourage you to think about what your goals are in the undergraduate experience, though, as taking that many courses per term (in one school or in two) may or may not be too challenging for you intellectually, but it will certainly place demands on your time that will impact your choices for how you use your time outside of academics.

    What one gains educationally from university courses is also sometimes different with the give and take of live classmates and instructors.

    Regarding on-campus housing: most universities actually have restrictions in the other direction. Insurance policies often will not allow residents in the dorms who are younger than 16 years of age (this was one of the factors (although not the most important one) in living at home for my undergraduate years). Living off-campus, of course, will have other constraints, such as that, if a minor, you will not be able to sign lease contracts for rentals, and may or may not be allowed to live unaccompanied, depending on the regulations in that state.

    I would encourage you to discuss your university plans with a trusted in-person adult who understands your interests, capacity and values.

    As a personal anecdote, I will also mention that I started as a matriculated university student as a minor, and obtained two bachelor's degrees over five years, in very different fields. One of my siblings obtained two over four years, in two closely related fields. Neither one of us started with any AP or dual enrollment credit. One of my children completed two degrees in unrelated fields in four years, including a semester of required field work (so 3.5 years of coursework), entering with a year-worth of fulltime dual enrollment credit.

    All of us started as minors, at varying levels of youth, and lived at home for the college years. (As did the remainder of my sibling group, whose degrees I have not described.) Starting university earlier gave us time to enjoy additional explorations, both academic and otherwise, and opportunities to develop the different dimensions of ourselves at whatever rate those aspects each needed, while still having adequate academic challenge. These included taking courses for interest only, without necessarily having them fit into a major or degree program, continuing to invest time into preferred hobbies or extracurriculars or charitable interests, and spending many many hours every day frivolously--but very pleasantly--reading science fiction (in my case!).


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    13umm Offline OP
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    I am planning to take fun courses that don't make majors as well, but if I like the field getting a minor in it could make sense. I don't have many hobbies outside of school since nearly all of my hobbies translate nicely to courses but I like texting my friend to worldbuild and read about socionics. It's just that taking on a lot will encourage me to manage my time extremely well and prepare me for a high-pressure career in law, business, academia, economics, or art.
    I'm glad that I may not be forced to live on campus, but my desired university requires that. If they waive that requirement I'd need to live near the school since bachelors degree courses are only available from that school (assuming I am admitted to that school) in person. I can get the ability to travel and try to get a US pass-port when I'm sixteen and hope it works it way through bureaucracy in 8 months and then ask my mom to emancipate me so she doesn't have to move to Chicago. I'll ask her to transfer the money she would have spent on college into an account that I'll use to provide for my needs since I won't have time to work while doing well in school and taking on many challenging second year courses. I might work for extra money to spend on fun things.
    Do you know any career counselors? My mom says I could be good at it and I like psychology. On the RIASEC I got I, then A, then E. I mostly got I though, and moderately less for A, and a little bit of E.

    Last edited by 13umm; 12/05/23 03:37 AM.
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    13umm, your recent post set off alarm bells in my head. I understand that you are thinking ahead several years, and are just at the beginning of that process, and casting a wide net to begin to gather information. Kudos to you for reaching out.

    You may want to ask yourself some questions about your preparedness to live independently. For example, how many hours each day do you spend budgeting, grocery shopping, food prepping, cooking, cleaning up? What is your laundry schedule? What physical activity(ies) do you engage in to keep your body healthy and your mind both active/alert and relaxed/flexible to deal with unexpected events (even tragedies) which undoubtedly enter into everyone's life at some point?

    Have you talked with your parent(s) about the amount of money which they have allocated, for your education? Are you certain that it will cover independent living expenses as well as tuition, books, etc at the institution(s) of your choice?

    How familiar are you with Chicago? Is it affordable for your own personal budget? If you live off-campus, who would you rent from? Would you have roommates to share expenses with? How would you meet trustworthy potential roommates? How would you furnish your room or apartment? You may want to start a scrap-book of news items (both positive and negative) regarding Chicago and/or any other possible city(ies) you may consider moving to.

    Similarly, you may also want to begin printing course descriptions and schedules (for example, some courses are offered only one semester of the year, or only offered periodically, and this can affect the anticipated course load in an given period, as well as impact future schedules due to prerequisites and/or scheduling priority given to seniors, to majors, etc, with underclassmen and/or minors given lower scheduling priority).

    Unfortunately, I find that many young people live in a dream world created of their imagining an ideal future with an unlimited menu of options, while disregarding reality. While each family has different financial circumstances, amount of extended family with whom they feel a bond, and connections whom they can rely on for guidance and advice regarding the safety of their minor child in a large city away from the family home, it occurs to me that an "emancipated minor" living on their own in Chicago may become a target for human trafficking. Your mention of wanting a pass-port increases potential danger; if you have not travelled extensively with your family or other trusted groups, that would be the recommended route to take to learn about travel safety.

    This post is not to discourage you, but to help you distinguish planning (which is based on gathered facts, acquired knowledge of how systems work, capacity to handle downsides, attention to details/minutiae, prioritization of safety) from wishful thinking.

    For anyone not familiar with John Holland's RIASEC occupational codes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Codes) which were mentioned:
    I = Investigative (thinker)
    A = Artistic (creator)
    E = Entrepreneur/Enterprising (persuader)

    When thinking of these codes, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/) may be of interest as it gives projections of job growth or decline in different areas. This is their category which includes career counselors (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm).

    When considering a choice of careers, the thread "Technology may replace 40% of jobs in 15 years" (2019) (http://giftedissues.davidsongifted....logy_may_replace_40_of_j.html#Post244643) may also be of interest.

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    13umm Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by indigo
    13umm, your recent post set off alarm bells in my head. I understand that you are thinking ahead several years, and are just at the beginning of that process, and casting a wide net to begin to gather information. Kudos to you for reaching out.

    You may want to ask yourself some questions about your preparedness to live independently. For example, how many hours each day do you spend budgeting, grocery shopping, food prepping, cooking, cleaning up? What is your laundry schedule? What physical activity(ies) do you engage in to keep your body healthy and your mind both active/alert and relaxed/flexible to deal with unexpected events (even tragedies) which undoubtedly enter into everyone's life at some point?

    Have you talked with your parent(s) about the amount of money which they have allocated, for your education? Are you certain that it will cover independent living expenses as well as tuition, books, etc at the institution(s) of your choice?

    How familiar are you with Chicago? Is it affordable for your own personal budget? If you live off-campus, who would you rent from? Would you have roommates to share expenses with? How would you meet trustworthy potential roommates? How would you furnish your room or apartment? You may want to start a scrap-book of news items (both positive and negative) regarding Chicago and/or any other possible city(ies) you may consider moving to.

    Similarly, you may also want to begin printing course descriptions and schedules (for example, some courses are offered only one semester of the year, or only offered periodically, and this can affect the anticipated course load in an given period, as well as impact future schedules due to prerequisites and/or scheduling priority given to seniors, to majors, etc, with underclassmen and/or minors given lower scheduling priority).

    Unfortunately, I find that many young people live in a dream world created of their imagining an ideal future with an unlimited menu of options, while disregarding reality. While each family has different financial circumstances, amount of extended family with whom they feel a bond, and connections whom they can rely on for guidance and advice regarding the safety of their minor child in a large city away from the family home, it occurs to me that an "emancipated minor" living on their own in Chicago may become a target for human trafficking. Your mention of wanting a pass-port increases potential danger; if you have not travelled extensively with your family or other trusted groups, that would be the recommended route to take to learn about travel safety.

    This post is not to discourage you, but to help you distinguish planning (which is based on gathered facts, acquired knowledge of how systems work, capacity to handle downsides, attention to details/minutiae, prioritization of safety) from wishful thinking.

    For anyone not familiar with John Holland's RIASEC occupational codes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Codes) which were mentioned:
    I = Investigative (thinker)
    A = Artistic (creator)
    E = Entrepreneur/Enterprising (persuader)

    When thinking of these codes, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/) may be of interest at it gives projections of job growth or decline in different areas. This is their category which includes career counselors (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm).

    When considering a choice of careers, the thread "Technology may replace 40% of jobs in 15 years" (2019) (http://giftedissues.davidsongifted....logy_may_replace_40_of_j.html#Post244643) may also be of interest.


    I understand your safety concerns and will work on life skills. I'll also consider a safer city and online synchronous courses from Canada.

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    13umm Offline OP
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    Thank you for the advice.

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    I do not know any career counselors working primarily with adults, but career counseling is a key aspect of school counseling (also known as guidance counseling). I know lots of those, since I work in a high school. Vocational rehabilitation counselor is also a related field.

    If you are thinking about this or related areas, a background in psychology is helpful, but your undergraduate degree does not have to be in psych. (Mine are not.) The psych courses you would take for a minor will probably be perfectly adequate for entering a graduate program, which generally is necessary for entry-level jobs in any kind of counseling. (A master's degree, minimally.)

    I would also consider that broad and varied life experiences can be quite valuable--even essential--to success in a counseling field, since your clients will come from diverse backgrounds, with diverse needs. Giving yourself a bit more space to investigate all aspects of yourself (not only focusing on concentrated academics), and time to unfold and develop as a human being can be very worthwhile investments both personally and professionally. You will benefit the most from these varied life experiences if you are navigating only a few at a time, and allowing them each to sink in and process.

    I look back at some of the studies and readings I did in my undergraduate years, and although I have no regrets about the age I was or the pace of my education, I do see some aspects from which I would have derived different and richer nuances if I had encountered them at another stage of life. I also echo indigo's cautions about safety, as I essentially navigated high school-level social and emotional development around legal adults, many of whom were of age to indulge in controlled substances. [Edit: also, not every legal adult in university is going to respect--or even ask about--the age of consent with a minor, which suggests other possible risks.] Thankfully, I did not come to any lasting harm from that confluence, but not because there were no opportunities for harm. Having mature, responsible adults emotionally and physically present in my life (my parents) was critically important to my positive outcomes.

    One of the benefits of your search at this point in history is that there are many more options for quality university-level studies; you are not limited to traditional brick & mortar institutions. Your thought regarding synchronous online courses is a valuable one, and one that would not have been a serious option only a few years ago.

    Last edited by aeh; 12/05/23 05:04 PM.

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    13umm Offline OP
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    Having parents nearby is definitely helpful for safety reasons. I'll make sure to reread my favourite works every couple of years. Synchronous online courses sound all right but the university that has one of the best test in options (some APs can cover 9 general elective credits, some can offer second year placement, 5s can offer challenging credits, and they even test above linear algebra and second year chemistry so people can be in the hardest courses suited to their prior knowledge, they have higher standards than the AP exam for languages, and let people take computer science diagnostics instead of sitting through first year courses while having known all of the material, and let undergraduates take some graduate courses. Also we can start school during the summer before when most schools start if we want. The only restriction is the number of courses we can take at most a quarter.) does not offer it. I'll find multiple schools that offer that. Can you give some advice on college "fit"? Stuff like emotional atmosphere, lack of workaholism culture, access to mental health resources, and access to tutoring isn't super important to my ability to succeed in college and I'd love a place that's high pressure where people strive to prove their abilities constantly and are very independent. I'd also like a student body that values learning and don't mind schools without great sports programs since I'm not interested in that very much. Also, the college I want isn't known by name but is academically rigorous so I chase rigor, learning, competitiveness, and pressure but not necessarily prestige. I can go into detail in private message if that's ok. Taking online courses that aren't AP courses like philosophy and linguistics would be fun.

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    Originally Posted by 13umm
    Is it possible to get five bachelor's degrees in three years if you test out of a year of [[/b]b]elective credit via AP exams and take semesters with a lot of courses?

    Originally Posted by 13umm
    I am planning to take fun courses that don't make majors as well, but if I like the field getting a minor in it could make sense. I don't have many hobbies outside of school since nearly all of my hobbies translate nicely to courses but I like texting my friend to worldbuild and read about socionics. It's just that taking on a lot will encourage me to manage my time extremely well and prepare me for a high-pressure career in law, business, academia, economics, or art.
    I'm glad that I may not be forced to live on campus, but my desired university requires that. If they waive that requirement I'd need to live near the school since bachelors degree courses are only available from that school (assuming I am admitted to that school) in person. I can get the ability to travel and try to get a US pass-port when I'm sixteen and hope it works it way through bureaucracy in 8 months and then ask my mom to emancipate me so she doesn't have to move to Chicago. I'll ask her to transfer the money she would have spent on college into an account that I'll use to provide for my needs since I won't have time to work while doing well in school and taking on many challenging second year courses. I might work for extra money to spend on fun things.

    In my own experience, the best way to deal with a high pressure job is to keep developing your skills sets, so the broad education you are planning to gain would be useful, but acquiring multiple degrees may not necessarily be the most effective way to achieve this.

    At age 18, my son is a little older than you are and he is studying a single degree (R & D engineering) which allows him the option to study maths, physics and programming at more advanced levels than his degree demands and to choose electives which allow him to start being creative with the application of his knowledge and skills. Whilst his academic results have been stellar, by my observations, his live-in college experiences are proving just as valuable to prepare him for future work.

    As the newly appointed sports rep and head sports coach at his college, he has been tasked to organise all the sports activities for next year. At the end of the academic year, he stayed on for another two weeks, planning and organising student activities for the year ahead. He has performed a multitude of risk assessments and made many modifications to his plans to include appropriate risk minimization strategies and been asked by the college council to review the risk assessments and plans of others. Since he has invited my input into some of these, I have had the opportunity to observe that his approach is already far more comprehensive and meticulous than many risk assessments performed in my workplace, by much older and ostensibly more experienced individuals. I have no doubt that these skills that he is acquiring in the ‘non academic’ aspects of his time at Uni & college will stand him in excellent stead for his future career.

    Almost every aspect of life affords us opportunities to learn and develop skills. Whilst a string of letters after one’s name can look impressive, the most valuable member(s) of any team are the ones that have the knowledge and skills to get the tasks completed to a satisfactory if not high standard. How well, or poorly, financial and material remunerations match the actual value of the contributions of various individuals is an entirely different discussion.

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