Another Early College Program
One of the things I'm trying to do with this blog is to help parents of gifted kids find the resources that are available to them. To that end, I want to share another early college option I've come across: Simon's Rock College in Massachusetts.
This small, private liberal arts college is set up specifically for younger scholars. Students usually enroll after their sophomore year in high school. They live on campus, and either complete 2-year degrees and transfer, or complete a 4-year degree. Simon's Rock is affiliated with nearby Bard College. You can read more about their programs at www.simons-rock.edu.
One of the reasons I find Simon's Rock appealing is that the institution really does try to create the "collegiate" feel that students enrolling early elsewhere miss out on. The Portland Press Herald (of Maine) had an interesting article two weeks ago about a 14-year-old girl who was admitted to the University of Maine -- and indeed was given a full scholarship -- but wasn't allowed to live on campus. You can read the story here.
I understand the university's point. College dorms are sometimes a more adult environment than 14-year-olds should be exposed to, even if the 14-year-olds are mature. And the university is no doubt worried about liability. On the other hand, living with other scholars is a big part of the fun of going to college -- discussing ideas with other bright young people, making friends, and all that. Simon's Rock lets 15- and 16-year-olds do that in an environment set up for them. It certainly isn't cheap -- tuition, room and board top $41,000 a year -- but it is an option for kids too bored with high school to see staying two more years.