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Early Entrance and Acceleration in Selective College Admissions

Posted by Categories: Gifted Students, Higher Education

Early Entrance and Acceleration in Selective College Admissions | National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)On October 13, 2016, NSGT presented a webinar entitled Current Trends and Considerations in Selective College Admissions: What Every Family Needs to Know! You can view it here.

The webinar was presented by Dr. Matthew Greene, President of Matthew Greene Educational Consulting. As Dr. Greene was unable to answer all the questions asked during the webinar within our time frame, we have tried to address some of the remaining ones in a series of blogs. Today’s question, in this fifth and final blog devoted to college admissions, deals with early entrance avenues to college, and is contributed by Barbara Swicord, President of Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) and CEO of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT).

Question: As a college professor I can appreciate the diversity younger students bring to campus, but as a mom I hesitate… with the idea of having a younger child admitted early to college (albeit gifted, talented and ready). Are there colleges that are a better option for younger students?

Answer: There are several ways to enter college earlier than upon high school graduation at the traditional ages of 17-19. Many colleges and high schools now allow Dual Enrollment where students can take high school classes while also taking college courses. You might want to check to see if your school does.

Early Admissions allows students to enter college after their sophomore or junior year, whether or not they have completed high school requirements. This option was one I took, back in the dark ages. I skipped my senior year because I felt ready to go on to college (the college admitting me under this plan was Wesleyan College, in Macon, GA). After a year of college, I was given a high school diploma from my high school. This plan turned out to work well for me.

The question this parent asks appears to be more directed to Early Entrance programs where the student would attend college at an even younger age than late high school. According to Hoagies, there are at least eleven such programs in the U.S. You can find out more about all these colleges at Then you can analyze what you like and don’t like and go from there.

While acceleration is overall a highly positive educational strategy for gifted students, Early Entrance, along with other acceleration models, remains an individual choice. You’re going to want to research what has been written and compiled on early college entrance information, look at colleges specifically designed to meet the needs of accelerated students, and meet with the admissions officers of such schools to ask all your pertinent questions. Think about all the pros and cons and see how you feel about all the options before you.

The good news is that there are many options available now to students who feel ready for the college experience in an accelerated fashion to help tailor the solution that is right for each student.  If you have had an accelerated route to college, and wish to share your experiences, I’m sure many families considering this choice would love to hear what you have to share.

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)


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