Teen Finishes University of Michigan in One Year
We read a lot these days about perpetual college students -- and college drop-out rates -- so I thought it was refreshing to see an article this morning about a young woman who enrolled at the University of Michigan in the fall and will be graduating this summer. You can read the article here.
Nicole Matisse attended high school outside Detroit, and finished up the curriculum there by her junior year. So then she took enough classes at Oakland Community College to transfer into Michigan as a junior. Rather than coast through her college experience, she then decided to double up on credits and finish up this spring. As a result, she'll be graduating with a bachelor's degree at age 19, and starting law school this fall.
Since Matisse did this all this curriculum compacting at ages 17-19, news accounts of her story feature a notable lack of teeth-gnashing about the topic. Often, children who finish college at age 19 -- because they start at age 14 or 15 -- encounter a lot of skeptical folks who wax nostalgic about their own high school and college experiences.
But there is no particular reason high school or college "should" take 4 years apiece. Indeed, there are many advantages in getting done sooner. Matisse can start her law career with more time and energy for that ladder, or she can get another degree and still be the same age as most of her peers when she starts her first job. With the scandal in student loans filling the airwaves, it should be noted that people who finish college in less time often wind up with fewer loans than people who take longer.
Unfortunately, though, I worry about how the very efficient Matisse will find law school. The first year tends to be tough, but by October or November of year two, most major law firms have hired their summer associates for the following summer. As one law firm recruiter once told me, they then give offers to just about any summer associate who doesn't drool on herself. So Matisse will find that only 1.2 years of her three-year law school program actually matter. Business school is even worse. Most firms hire their summer interns by November of the first year of B-school, then hire them permanently after the summer. That means only 2 months of the whole 2-year program matter. But perhaps this gifted young woman will find a way to introduce the concept of curriculum compacting to graduate school as well.