Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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.


Anonymous said...

Your mention of Simon's Rock took me back to my sophomore year of high school when they started sending me promotional literature. I had scored very highly on the PSATs. Fast forward two years and I was a bored and struggling kid who finished in the middle of her class and went to a state college.

Thanks for reminding me why I'm going to fight incredibly hard for my gifted son to get what he needs.

Laura Vanderkam said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Fortunately, some states have started special residential schools for gifted kids in the last 2-3 years of high school. These tend to be free (or very low cost) and since they are on college campuses, students can take college level courses. I believe about 15 states have such schools now. Here's hoping that number will be 50 soon.

antifreeze1129 said...

I am currently a freshman at a Simon's Rock. A the start of the year I was 14. The youngest ever admitted student was 12. If you are ready to move up in education do not let age stop you.