Even though early college admission may sound appealing, it requires hard work and diligent preparation. "Early admission" means a student skips his senior year and starts college a year early. Early admission is designed for students who know what they want. Students need the academic accomplishments to support their higher education goals, according to Carl Nielson, creator of Career Coaching for Students.
Meet with your high school counselor well before your junior year. Explain your educational goals. Request assistance in mapping out a plan to meet your objective of early college admission. Identify the time and place for SAT/ACT college entrance tests. Fulfill all requirements for your high school diploma before the end of your junior year.
Search online for universities, colleges or vocational institutions with the best credentials to match your interests and educational ambition. Nielson advises identifying potential careers based on your personal talents and passions. Uncover the educational requirements for your career options.
Contact the universities of your choice. Not all colleges offer early entrance to students, according to Deb Thyng Schmidt, senior adviser for Admissions Consultants. Make sure your application will be allowed. For the most part, a student is expected to put together the same type of application as a senior in high school, according to Schmidt. Submit applications and pertinent documents on time.
Exhaust all high school course offerings available to you. For example, complete the entire available math sequence. Take the senior English class early. If a university's selection committee members believe you would benefit from offerings still available in high school, they'll be reluctant to take you early. Most successful early applicants make this move because they have literally run out of tough courses to take in high school, according to Aimee Yermish, educational therapist for da Vinci Learning.
Ask your teachers and counselors to write recommendations. These reference letters need to be exceptionally strong. Selection committees are looking for evidence of maturity and independence, such as summer school, internships and non-family travel experiences, according to Schmidt. The recommendations should indicate why you deserve a spot that might otherwise go to a student with more typical preparation.
Write essays, making the case that you are intellectually and socially ready for college. The selection committee wants to know that you are not leaving high school early simply because you don't get along with peers. Include evidence of involvement with sports and clubs, particularly when you've taken a leadership role. Tell why you're interested in college and what you expect to contribute, if admitted.
- Rather than "settling for any old school just to get out of high school as soon as possible," Yermish advises waiting an extra year to get into a school that is a good match for you.
- Recognize that your application will be judged on an even footing with all of the others. Colleges don't give you extra credit or let weaknesses slide just because you are younger.
Karen LoBello is coauthor of “The Great PJ Elf Chase: A Christmas Eve Tradition.” She began writing in 2009, following a career as a Nevada teacher. LoBello holds a bachelor's degree in K-8 education, a secondary degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in computer education.