CFK's posts have got me thinking. There was a related discussion in the thread "Finishing school maths when not ready for college" started by ColinsMum.

Our DS7 will probably finish AP Calc BC in grade 6 at age 11-12, and will then have run out of courses at his virtual school. (Since it is one school for all grades he will get high school credit for all courses Alg I, Geom, Alg II, Trig/Precalc, AP Calc BC, even though he'll take them in Elem/Mid school.) So the question is, what then? He'll only be slightly accelerated in "humanities" type subjects, so won't be ready for college until about age 17 (one year early), maybe a bit earlier, or maybe not early at all.

My thinking had been for him to try to get into an "elite" university at the regular age of 18, assuming that they are so competitive that trying earlier wouldn't be a plausible option. (Obviously I can't be sure yet if he'd be strong enough academically, but the fact that these "elites" focus a lot on non-academics makes admission that much harder.)

I'm not sure why I hadn't clearly thought it through before, but CFK's posts make it clear to me that my son is on a trajectory where he could be taking university maths courses for 4-5 years at the local university (and maybe some science courses too) before he actually formally starts university, by which time he'll be in a position to finish his BSc in about 2 years at the local university, fulfilling the "humanities"(etc.) requirements, while taking math graduate courses, and then trying for an "elite" university for graduate school.

There's a dilemma here. This kind of acceleration puts you on a path of starting university early at the local "mediocre" university, and finishing quickly, and it actually seems to make it less likely that you'll have the option of getting into an "elite" university for undergraduate.

I still think there are big advantages to the "elite" universities for undergraduate too, if the price is right. The courses will be much more rigorous, the standards much higher, and there'll be a larger pool of more able students. (I explained earlier how I thought my combination of "mediocre" undergraduate and "elite" graduate was a mistake.)

But I'm seeing our son's trajectory being similar to CFK's. He could still apply to the "elite" universities, but if it's at a younger age, admission is that much more unlikely, and also much of the course credit would be lost (and it is right for these universities to not accept the courses of "lesser" universities, and it's not so bad to retake a much more rigorous version of a course).

You don't want to artificially slow down the natural pace of acceleration, but the acceleration can land you in some awkward places. (My attitude is to keep up the natural pace of acceleration, and cross bridges when you come to them, but you still need to look ahead.)

I'd appreciate any thoughts on all this.

ETA: I didn't see CFK's latest reply. I'll read it now.

Last edited by 22B; 07/28/13 09:30 AM.