5 Signs You Should Consider Early College

Director of Admission, Bard College at Simon's Rock

If you're a high school student already itching to get into a college classroom, you might want to investigate early college, and you can start with these insider insights from the Director of Admission at such an institution, Bard's College at Simon's Rock!

Most people who go to college do so right after they finish high school. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. The standard path works fine for them. But for others, it just doesn’t. Some students take time off before college in the form of a gap year. Some attend community college and then transfer. And some just can’t wait . . .

Each year, hundreds of high school students choose to enroll in early college programs before they graduate from high school. Wondering if early college might be right for you? Take a look at these five common indicators to see if you’re ready:

  • You know there’s a whole world out there waiting for you. You’re itching to explore subjects not offered in high school, or you might already know what you want to study. It’s definitely not a question of “what do I want to do when I grow up?” but more like “why do I have to spend two more years going through the motions when I want to navigate my own educational path now?”
  • You’re bored with your high school classes.  Maybe you get straight A’s without even trying, or maybe you blow off work that bores you. Either way, you know that getting good grades does not always mean getting a good education.
  • Sometimes you feel like you have to hide your passion for learning and intellectual engagement so you can fit in. You often seek teachers, family members, or older friends when you want to have an intellectually stimulating conversation.
  • You wish you could take college classes now. You’ve already taken the highest-level courses your high school has to offer and you’re still looking for an even greater challenge. You’d jump at the chance to study Nietzsche, learn about the anthropology of music, or dive into quantum physics.
  • You’re extraordinarily curious. You have a lot of interests and you’d rather spend time exploring those topics than texting about the school dance, the upcoming game, or the latest high school drama.

Early college is a unique opportunity for students who are ready for the challenge of college after 10th or 11th grade. It's different from high school. You’ll be expected to participate in rigorous discussion, ask questions, and challenge your professors. You’ll be responsible for the shape and scope of your education, working with your advisors and professors to choose or design your own courses, independent projects, and internships. Your senior thesis will be the kind of work most of your high school friends can’t even imagine. But don’t worry, you’ll have ample help and support along the way.

If you’re ready, and you have the courage and confidence to step off the traditional education treadmill, there is a place for you.

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