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Although I am no longer a homeschooling father, I think I can consider myself an expert on early college. Both my kids were homeschooled and received their Bachelor's Degrees in their teens. My son at 19, and my daughter at 18. My son spent a total of 5 weeks in the public schools, and my daughter zero weeks. We live in Connecticut which so far (we are presently under attack) is the best state in the USA for homeschooling.

 

This is my first post on this board which I didn't know about until recently.I thought I would start this thread to help anyone who believes their kids are capable of early college. We used the Well Trained Mind as a guide to homeschooling, and we also used local community colleges to augment our teaching in subjects we didn't want to teach, or had no background to teach. My kids started taking easy classes in the Community Colleges at around age 10 (e.g. photography, art, French) and both went on to get Associates Degrees when they were in their mid-teens, i.e., 15 and 16. We actually kept our daughter in the community college much longer than we had to, since we did not want to send her to live in dorms at age 15. 

 

The method we used spread around our homeschooling community and when we finally lost track, there were about 40 early college home schoolers enrolled in our principle Community College.

 

My son is now 22 and is finishing up Law School. My daughter is taking a gap year, and just took her LSATs two weeks ago. Her GPA at the University of Connecticut was    so we are relatively certain that she will be in Law School next Fall.

 

As I said, I do consider myself an expert on this, and I would be happy to give advice to anyone who is interested. 

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Thanks for sharing your story.

 

Did you have to graduate your children from high school before matriculating at the CC?

 

Whoops. I seem to have screwed up. I posted a reply to this but it didn't post.

 

Anyway, in Connecticut you can take a community college course with no test, background or requirements. However, matriculated students get first choice of classes.

 

To matriculate you need to take a placement course, which my kids did and got a high enough score to show "ability to benefit," which was the requirement for matriculating.

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There's a recent thread that covered a lot of early-college ground, just so that you know that opinions were quite divided.

 

L

 

 

Wow! I can see that. There seems to be a lot of hostility on this topic. 

 

It would seem to me that anyone who thinks their kid is gifted should consider the possibility of early college.

 

My kids enjoyed it.

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Wow! I can see that. There seems to be a lot of hostility on this topic. 

 

It would seem to me that anyone who thinks their kid is gifted should consider the possibility of early college.

 

My kids enjoyed it.

 

I didn't get hostility from that thread: more a nuanced understanding that there is more than one way, that children are different, that personal circumstances are different, that the child's ambitions will also be different and that all these might lead into a doubt whether early college is correct for an individual child.

 

FWIW, I believe that my son is in exactly the right place for him, after four years in high school, arriving at university one year early.

 

L

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I didn't get hostility from that thread: more a nuanced understanding that there is more than one way, that children are different, that personal circumstances are different, that the child's ambitions will also be different and that all these might lead into a doubt whether early college is correct for an individual child.

 

FWIW, I believe that my son is in exactly the right place for him, after four years in high school, arriving at university one year early.

 

L

 

Of course, as a parent you would know best what is best for your child.

 

I definitely picked up hostility there, and at the other discussions they referred to. Some people were saying that the parents who did this were doing a "disservice" to their kids, for example.  That is IMO nonsense. As you say, kids are different. It might be a disservice to some kids, it might stress out some kids to do early college, and some kids might not be ready for it. But we, and a large group of others who were also doing it at the same Community College benefited greatly from it. I know no family that regretted it. 

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Of course, as a parent you would know best what is best for your child.

 

I definitely picked up hostility there, and at the other discussions they referred to. Some people were saying that the parents who did this were doing a "disservice" to their kids, for example.  That is IMO nonsense. As you say, kids are different. It might be a disservice to some kids, it might stress out some kids to do early college, and some kids might not be ready for it. But we, and a large group of others who were also doing it at the same Community College benefited greatly from it. I know no family that regretted it. 

 

I'm not arguing with you, but I do want to put the 'disservice' comments in another context.  Leaving aside questions of stress - one can assess that day by day - a lot of the comments were about whether it was preferable to build up a lot of credits in a local college, or whether it was better to wait and go to a university that would be more intellectually stimulating and/or prestigious for a full three or four years.  Of course, in some cases you might be able to do both at once (the local college might be outstanding) but for some gifted kids, there is a value to finding intellectual peers, even if they need to wait to do it.

 

L

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I'm not arguing with you, but I do want to put the 'disservice' comments in another context.  Leaving aside questions of stress - one can assess that day by day - a lot of the comments were about whether it was preferable to build up a lot of credits in a local college, or whether it was better to wait and go to a university that would be more intellectually stimulating and/or prestigious for a full three or four years.  Of course, in some cases you might be able to do both at once (the local college might be outstanding) but for some gifted kids, there is a value to finding intellectual peers, even if they need to wait to do it.

 

L

 

By the way, I don't mind if you or anyone else disagrees with me. I am speaking from my experience and others experience might be different or lead to different conclusions.

 

When you say "better," what do you mean. Better in what way? Socially? Intellectually? Educationally?

 

The Community College we utilized the most, and from which my kids got Associate Degrees, was Tunxis Community College in Bristol, Connecticut.  It is an EXCELLENT College, and both my kids have said that the classes there were mostly better than at the University of Connecticut. The level of instruction was outstanding. I would recommend Tunxis to absolutely anyone. 

 

In addition, one strong reason we chose the University of Connecticut was that it was relatively easy to transfer courses from the Connecticut Community College system into UConn. My son also applied to Trinity, and even took several courses there while homeschooling, but Trinity would not give transfer credit unless the course was IDENTICAL to their own course. Also, Trinity cost about $30,000 per year more than UConn, and might have required three years instead of two. So in terms of financial advantage, Community College plus UConn was definitely a plus. Also, as if that wasn't enough, graduates of UConn are given preference for UConn Medical School, Law School and Dental School. 

 

It was a trifecta of "betters" as far as we were concerned.  

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When you say "better," what do you mean. Better in what way? Socially? Intellectually? Educationally?  

 

It could be any of those, but I was focusing on intellectually and educationally.  You were lucky to be in a situation that you considered to be the best for your children.  If your children had had other ambitions, or if they had lived somewhere without a good quality local college, then getting an associates degree locally might well have been a worse option.

 

The only local college that would have accepted my son at a young age would have provided a meagre education that would neither have satisfied him intellectually, not would it have prepared him to attend the university that he currently attends.  It would have been a bad choice for him.  Perhaps if he had a very different sibling, then it would have been good for him/her, and I know some home educated people who have used that college.

 

I believe that early college is not for every child - but I am not at all suggesting that it is wrong for any individual child.  I do think that it is worth working case by case.

 

L

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It could be any of those, but I was focusing on intellectually and educationally.  You were lucky to be in a situation that you considered to be the best for your children.  If your children had had other ambitions, or if they had lived somewhere without a good quality local college, then getting an associates degree locally might well have been a worse option.

 

The only local college that would have accepted my son at a young age would have provided a meagre education that would neither have satisfied him intellectually, not would it have prepared him to attend the university that he currently attends.  It would have been a bad choice for him.  Perhaps if he had a very different sibling, then it would have been good for him/her, and I know some home educated people who have used that college.

 

I believe that early college is not for every child - but I am not at all suggesting that it is wrong for any individual child.  I do think that it is worth working case by case.

 

L

 

I agree with pretty much everything you are saying. And I can see your point of view.  Like your son, I entered college at age 17, and it was an Ivy League college which I doubt I would have been able to get into if I hadn't gone to high school and finished near the top of the class. Unfortunately, or fortunately, neither of my kids were interested in even applying to my alma mater. For me, however, getting into an Ivy League school meant a lot. Different time, different circumstances, different people. Both my kids are very happy people.

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Obviously it depends on a person's particular goals, but FWIW, from my perspective, a kid truly capable of early college ought to be capable of admission to a top-tier law school (traditionally, top-15, though there may be a few outside of that, maybe up to 20-ish, that might be reasonable), which is what I would advise such a student to shoot for without question, as offering the most flexibility and the brighter peers.  Whether early college can get a person there, I don't know.

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Obviously it depends on a person's particular goals, but FWIW, from my perspective, a kid truly capable of early college ought to be capable of admission to a top-tier law school (traditionally, top-15, though there may be a few outside of that, maybe up to 20-ish, that might be reasonable), which is what I would advise such a student to shoot for without question, as offering the most flexibility and the brighter peers.  Whether early college can get a person there, I don't know.

 

 

The one disadvantage of homeschooling for getting into Law School, is that most law schools rely heavily on the LSAT, which is a standardized test. In our homeschool at least we did not do standardized testing. And nothing in Connecticut law required us to do any standardized testing. Therefore, both my kids were at a disadvantage with regards to to that. Also, another advantage of the University of Connecticut was that transfer students did not have to take the SAT. So neither of my kids did that either. However, law schools do require the LSAT.

   That would be good enough to get her into some of the top law schools, but not the very best. With her      GPA and assuming she gets     on the LSAT she would be able to get into one Ivy League Law School.  However, most likely she will go to UConn Law, which is the family law school, and gives a quality education for a very reasonable amount of money.  

 

Which Law School she goes to will be entirely her choice, however. 

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I hate to break it to you, but a 163 isn't going to get a student into an Ivy caliber law school unless he/she is an "underrepresented minority". My brother had a LSAT in the low 170's and higher than a 3.65 from a top 30 college, and he didn't get into any top 10 schools. If your child is aiming for an Ivy caliber school, she'd need to shoot for a 175 to make up for a lowish GPA.

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Vegesaurus Rex, this is a bit off topic, but how is the job market for young lawyers nowadays? My daughter is 28 and her boyfriend, who is the same age, has both an MBA and a law degree from better schools (not Ivies). He has had a tough time finding a job and just recently, after almost two year of part-time jobs, became permanently employed as legal counsel for a small firm. His friends are having the same experience. We're in Chicago, btw. Maybe it's better elsewhere?

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I hate to break it to you, but a 163 isn't going to get a student into an Ivy caliber law school unless he/she is an "underrepresented minority". My brother had a LSAT in the low 170's and higher than a 3.65 from a top 30 college, and he didn't get into any top 10 schools. If your child is aiming for an Ivy caliber school, she'd need to shoot for a 175 to make up for a lowish GPA.

 

 

Sorry, but I have to disagree with you.

 

An LSAT Score of     plus a GPA of      is well within the acceptance range of several Ivy Law Schools:

 

http://www.gettingtogradschool.com/LawSchool/LSAT_ranking_Law_school_Top_150.htm

 

I would say that she is likely to get into Cornell, and since she is a legacy, my own Alma Mater, Penn.

 

I should add that, although the link I posted doesn't show it. The MEDIAN GPA at Cornell Law is below.

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Vegesaurus Rex, this is a bit off topic, but how is the job market for young lawyers nowadays? My daughter is 28 and her boyfriend, who is the same age, has both an MBA and a law degree from better schools (not Ivies). He has had a tough time finding a job and just recently, after almost two year of part-time jobs, became permanently employed as legal counsel for a small firm. His friends are having the same experience. We're in Chicago, btw. Maybe it's better elsewhere?

 

 

I think what you are saying pretty much describes the market in Connecticut as well. The job market is not great for lawyers, but it is probably worse for someone without a profession. We are not terribly worried about that,however, since my kids will be about 22 when they get their respective JDs, and they have plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary. 

 

I would have thought an MBA and a JD would be dynamite. I guess maybe not, huh?

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I think what you are saying pretty much describes the market in Connecticut as well. The job market is not great for lawyers, but it is probably worse for someone without a profession. We are not terribly worried about that,however, since my kids will be about 22 when they get their respective JDs, and they have plenty of time to make adjustments if necessary. 

 

I would have thought an MBA and a JD would be dynamite. I guess maybe not, huh?

 

We thought it would be a terrific combination, too, but it turned out to be a bit of a slog for him. He's doing well now and on the upside, is very grateful for his job. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

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I'm looking at early college options, and, in fact, started a thread recently about one local to me that we may be considering as early as next fall. DD is definitely a good candidate for early college on paper, but I want to make sure it won't short change her as far as her career goals go, since her dream and goal is research biology (specifically, herpetology).

 

 

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I'm looking at early college options, and, in fact, started a thread recently about one local to me that we may be considering as early as next fall. DD is definitely a good candidate for early college on paper, but I want to make sure it won't short change her as far as her career goals go, since her dream and goal is research biology (specifically, herpetology).

 

I don't see how early college can short change her. How old is she? Is she presently home schooling full time?

 

As I said, I started my kids with easy community college courses. Courses such as photography.  This purpose of this course from my point of view was to prepare my daughter, age 10 for the idea of a college class. She followed up with Art, French and Remedial College Math (for her, of course, it was not remedial.) She took harder and harder courses as time went on, but at the beginning only took one or two courses per semester. She had earned an Associates Degree by age 15, but we kept her there for another year. She didn't graduate until 16. But by then she was quite used to college. 

 

As it turned out, she did well in her courses in Community College, but it would not have been a disaster if she had not. We could have cut back on the number of courses, or stopped them altogether. No college would hold a bad grade against a 10 year old taking a college course.  

 

IMO, if your kid is truly bright, and has a reasonable amount of maturity and focus, early college is the way to go. At least in Connecticut the public schools are all teach-to-the-middle. If your kid is not in the middle then he will either be overwhelmed or bored silly. In Connecticut there is no gifted and talented. (Yes, they have such a thing, but it is underfunded and mostly ignored.) The public schools in Connecticut are against what they see as "elitism," so when they get money for G &T they tend to spend it on everyone.  It is truly a joke, at least in this state.

 

However, we do have an excellent community college system. Schools like Trinity offer free courses (I think up to 4) to kids in the community. My son, who was interested in the classics took advanced Latin and Greek at Trinity and enjoyed the courses very much. 

 

Once you leave the public and private schools behind, a world of wonder opens up, and there is no subject you cannot learn about somewhere.

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Once you leave the public and private schools behind, a world of wonder opens up, and there is no subject you cannot learn about somewhere.

 

And that's actually my concern. If DD were in PS, it would be a no-brainer. Since she's homeschooled, she's already getting a lot of opportunities to learn in her desired areas, at a quite high level. I'm not sure that the local community college, or even the local university, wouldn't be a step backwards in her case. I'm reluctant to go into all the reasons why that might be the case simply because most of the people on the board have been following that trek, but here are two threads from things my DD has been able to do recently.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/529499-another-conference-another-show/?hl=%2Bconference&do=findComment&comment=5948633

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/523333-conference-update-for-those-who-are-interested/?hl=%2Bconference&do=findComment&comment=5869690

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Welcome to the boards Vegesaurus. I love your username by the way. Thank you for sharing your story.

 

Here in CA, we took the CHSPE route and graduated my son from our homeschool to start community college at 11 as a regular student. Since he is under 16, he is "re-enrolled" in my private homeschool for now but he seems quite firm about transferring to a UC in 2-3 years. This is his first semester where he is taking a mix of both academic (calculus and physics) and arts/ extracurricular classes (jazz and a sport).

 

In his case, the math and physics are definitely steps backwards. He is constantly saying they are too easy but some aspects of the experience are still challenging his executive function skills so I am not overly concerned. But it does seem like he will need more challenge in these areas soon. We are contemplating possibilities like dual enrolling at a local university once he completes his calculus series.

 

In other areas however, it is perhaps the best and only option that was open to us given our specific situation (academically, socially, budget-wise etc). We are still continuing our learning lifestyle in other ways, watching and discussing Great Courses at home, reading good literature, going to homeschool gatherings in our community etc.

 

He is learning and growing a lot from this experience overall. It is a proud moment for me every time he holds his own in groups of students much older than him. It is heartwarming to see him really care and ask questions and make connections with instructors etc. If there was a better option out there (we were specifically looking for something IRL and not online) or if we could afford for him to take individual classes at higher-ranked private colleges we could have done that but this is proving to be a great interim step for him now.

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And that's actually my concern. If DD were in PS, it would be a no-brainer. Since she's homeschooled, she's already getting a lot of opportunities to learn in her desired areas, at a quite high level. I'm not sure that the local community college, or even the local university, wouldn't be a step backwards in her case. I'm reluctant to go into all the reasons why that might be the case simply because most of the people on the board have been following that trek, but here are two threads from things my DD has been able to do recently.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/529499-another-conference-another-show/?hl=%2Bconference&do=findComment&comment=5948633

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/523333-conference-update-for-those-who-are-interested/?hl=%2Bconference&do=findComment&comment=5869690

 

I can see that she is excited about her special area.  However, one doesn't do advanced study on snakes unless one knows a lot of basic biology. (As it turns out, my daughter also likes snakes, not as much as yours, and minored in evolutionary biology.) How is your daughter as cell biology? genetics? anatomy? If she has mastered all of those fields, how about calculus and statistics as applied to the biological sciences.  Most of these courses you can take in community colleges. I can't remember how many courses my daughter took in biology in community college, at least four or five, including biology one and two, human biology, anatomy, and nutrition.  She took a lot more when she got to UConn. 

 

My guess is that you could find some courses she would need at the CC level.

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I suspect she could do some locally (probably NOT at the CC level-our CC is mediocre at best). The question is-is it a better use of her time to have her accelerate as fast as possible through lower level classes at a school that won't be at all focused or even thinking about field biology, or would it be better to let her enjoy this time and work with her mentors and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to her before college (for example, once she starts taking classes for credit, she'll lose her lifelong-learner status that's letting her audit classes cheaply now), enter a few years later, and pick a school that may have more research opportunities for undergraduates?

 

That's what I've been wrestling with, and I honestly don't know the answer. If we lived close to some of the schools in-state that do DE/Early entry AND have programs in her field, it would be a no-brainer. Where we are, right now, it's a lot more nebulous.

 

 

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Welcome to the boards Vegesaurus. I love your username by the way. Thank you for sharing your story.

 

Here in CA, we took the CHSPE route and graduated my son from our homeschool to start community college at 11 as a regular student. Since he is under 16, he is "re-enrolled" in my private homeschool for now but he seems quite firm about transferring to a UC in 2-3 years. This is his first semester where he is taking a mix of both academic (calculus and physics) and arts/ extracurricular classes (jazz and a sport).

 

In his case, the math and physics are definitely steps backwards. He is constantly saying they are too easy but some aspects of the experience are still challenging his executive function skills so I am not overly concerned. But it does seem like he will need more challenge in these areas soon. We are contemplating possibilities like dual enrolling at a local university once he completes his calculus series.

 

In other areas however, it is perhaps the best and only option that was open to us given our specific situation (academically, socially, budget-wise etc). We are still continuing our learning lifestyle in other ways, watching and discussing Great Courses at home, reading good literature, going to homeschool gatherings in our community etc.

 

He is learning and growing a lot from this experience overall. It is a proud moment for me every time he holds his own in groups of students much older than him. It is heartwarming to see him really care and ask questions and make connections with instructors etc. If there was a better option out there (we were specifically looking for something IRL and not online) or if we could afford for him to take individual classes at higher-ranked private colleges we could have done that but this is proving to be a great interim step for him now.

 

Wonderful. I love to hear stories like this. 

 

Again, going back to the community college that I know in my area, they offered three levels of calculus, and lots of statistics. No pure math, however.  It that wasn't enough, both Trinity College and The University of Hartford offered free (to high school age students) courses from anywhere in their curriculum. The only condition was that a class that was full could not be taken. These courses could even be at the graduate level. I don't think they would allow an independent study, however.

 

Again, I am bragging about Connecticut as a homeschooling paradise, and it really is. It is a small state with lots of colleges packed in. Within fairly easy distance of my house we have Tunxis Community College, Northwestern Community College, Western Connecticut State U, Central Connecticut State U , the University of Hartford, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and stretching it just a little, Yale.

 

No one from Connecticut could tell me that there are no free or very low cost courses available in any subject at almost any level. Of course, I only know about Connecticut. I do realize there are 49 other states. 

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I suspect she could do some locally (probably NOT at the CC level-our CC is mediocre at best). The question is-is it a better use of her time to have her accelerate as fast as possible through lower level classes at a school that won't be at all focused or even thinking about field biology, or would it be better to let her enjoy this time and work with her mentors and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to her before college (for example, once she starts taking classes for credit, she'll lose her lifelong-learner status that's letting her audit classes cheaply now), enter a few years later, and pick a school that may have more research opportunities for undergraduates?

 

That's what I've been wrestling with, and I honestly don't know the answer. If we lived close to some of the schools in-state that do DE/Early entry AND have programs in her field, it would be a no-brainer. Where we are, right now, it's a lot more nebulous.

 

I think I can answer your question for you.

 

First, find a college she would seriously like to attend. It doesn't make any difference if it is nearby or far.

 

Second, find out what their requirements for a major in biology are. Or perhaps evolutionary biology. You may find some of the courses she would be interested in in Evolutionary Biology. 

 

Third, find out which of the requirements at the chosen school can be taken locally.

 

Fourth, once you know what courses she can take that she will have to take anyway, contact the chosen school and talk to their admissions department. Find out what their transfer rules are. Will they give you credit for a Bio 101 course taken at your community college.  

 

Finally, develop a logical plan . If, say six courses that are required for a Bio major at the chosen school can be found locally, and they will give you credit for at least four of them, have her take those four courses. Additionally,find out what group requirements the chosen school has and see which of those can be taken at the community college for credit at the chosen school. Soon, using this method. you will have a couple years worth of course that she will have to take anyway. Why not take them at the rate of $300 per course instead of $3,000 per course?

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Sorry, but I have to disagree with you.

 

An LSAT Score of 163 plus a GPA of 3.651 is well within the acceptance range of several Ivy Law Schools:

 

http://www.gettingtogradschool.com/LawSchool/LSAT_ranking_Law_school_Top_150.htm

 

I would say that she is likely to get into Cornell, and since she is a legacy, my own Alma Mater, Penn.

 

I should add that, although the link I posted doesn't show it. The MEDIAN GPA at Cornell Law is below 3.651.

 

But look at the acceptance rates...  The chart isn't saying that a student WILL get in with those stats.  The students on the lower ends of the ranges may have great hooks.  Their lower GPA may reflect a more intense undergrad experience, etc. Admission isn't so cut and dried.

Also those LSATs are from 2006!    This 2009 data looks a bit different http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/LSATLow/2009

 

Also if you go here and use this tool that does the GPA/LSAT Index I think you will get a more accurate picture of how likely it is that a student will get into a certain school. I'm guessing these numbers will not be quite what you might think.  https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx

 

Georgia

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But look at the acceptance rates...  The chart isn't saying that a student WILL get in with those stats.  The students on the lower ends of the ranges may have great hooks.  Their lower GPA may reflect a more intense undergrad experience, etc. Admission isn't so cut and dried.

Also those LSATs are from 2006!    This 2009 data looks a bit different http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/LSATLow/2009

 

Also if you go here and use this tool that does the GPA/LSAT Index I think you will get a more accurate picture of how likely it is that a student will get into a certain school. I'm guessing these numbers will not be quite what you might think.  https://officialguide.lsac.org/Release/OfficialGuide_Default.aspx

 

Georgia

 

Georgia, yes I know about the LSAC guide. But that guide doesn't include things like being a legacy, or for example, having something others don't have.  Things are rarely just about the numbers. 

 

But you are right just considering the numbers, my daughter has only a one out of 3 chance of being accepted at Cornell,

 and even less at Penn. But like I say, she's a legacy at Penn.

 

But it is moot since she wants to go to UConn Law where her brother went.

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Georgia, yes I know about the LSAC guide. But that guide doesn't include things like being a legacy, or for example, having something others don't have.  Things are rarely just about the numbers. 

 

But you are right just considering the numbers, my daughter has only a one out of 3 chance of being accepted at Cornell,

 and even less at Penn. But like I say, she's a legacy at Penn.

 

But it is moot since she wants to go to UConn Law where her brother went.

 

I think you may be overestimating the legacy impact.  

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I think you may be overestimating the legacy impact.  

 

As I said, it is a moot point since she won't even be applying to Penn.

 

The legacy thing is big in the Ivies, but not merely for those who simply graduate from an Ivy, but for those who are both donors and graduates. 

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I suspect she could do some locally (probably NOT at the CC level-our CC is mediocre at best). The question is-is it a better use of her time to have her accelerate as fast as possible through lower level classes at a school that won't be at all focused or even thinking about field biology, or would it be better to let her enjoy this time and work with her mentors and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to her before college (for example, once she starts taking classes for credit, she'll lose her lifelong-learner status that's letting her audit classes cheaply now), enter a few years later, and pick a school that may have more research opportunities for undergraduates?

 

That's what I've been wrestling with, and I honestly don't know the answer. If we lived close to some of the schools in-state that do DE/Early entry AND have programs in her field, it would be a no-brainer. Where we are, right now, it's a lot more nebulous.

 

Ultimately, you know your DD best.  I think for some kids early college can be fine, for others it can be a great opportunity and for some it is a nightmare.  We opted to help our daughter identify and pursue opportunities for research and further science study but didn't graduate her exceedingly early (ie. she was seventeen as a college freshman).  This was best for her in the context of her life, our family, and her interest in pursuing athletic pursuits at a high level.  We did luck out a bit in that we have a local four year school where she could take some rigorous science courses through dual enrollment.  I guided her a little in what she took (ie I encouraged her to hold off on taking Organic Chemistry until she was actually on campus because I believed the subsequent courses that branched from there would be relevant to her anticipated major---Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and it would be helpful to be on the same path for them as her peers) but she took some upper level biology courses which built on the foundation of the AP biology course she excelled in (and earned a 5) as a freshman. 

 

I will also say that if your daughter aspires towards a science PhD generally there is a lot of benefit to being at a well regarded undegraduate institution (at least in her area), taking advantage of undergraduate research, and networking opportunities.  It may be a little different in the herpetology world than in the more lab oriented bench sciences but I think this might be another reason to allow her to keep progressing but not push for early college if that would mean settling for somewhat less favorable option either because it is close or because it where she fits if you plan to send her off at thirteen or fourteen.  

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As I said, it is a moot point since she won't even be applying to Penn.

 

The legacy thing is big in the Ivies, but not merely for those who simply graduate from an Ivy, but for those who are both donors and graduates. 

 

My DH's undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees come from two different Ivy Institutions.  He still has a decent connection with both in terms of funding their endowments and helping their students with networking.  Having said that, I don't think that really had any bearing on the admissions process when our eldest daughter was applying. Perhaps it would have had more impact if she was a more marginal candidate, or if she wasn't a  D1 caliber athlete [who ultimately opted to attend a non-Ivy US top 10 university], but overall it seems that the legacy weighting factor is becoming less and less important every year. I think this is positive.

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Vegesaurus Rex, this is a bit off topic, but how is the job market for young lawyers nowadays? My daughter is 28 and her boyfriend, who is the same age, has both an MBA and a law degree from better schools (not Ivies). He has had a tough time finding a job and just recently, after almost two year of part-time jobs, became permanently employed as legal counsel for a small firm. His friends are having the same experience. We're in Chicago, btw. Maybe it's better elsewhere?

 

My brother went to a law school in the top 20 (but not top 10) and only 40% of his class found FT employment as lawyers. He has an IT background so he's actually working in technology law but a lot of his classmates had to settle for jobs outside the legal field (I initially wrote "non-legal jobs" but that sounded funny, LOL!)

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No one from Connecticut could tell me that there are no free or very low cost courses available in any subject at almost any level. Of course, I only know about Connecticut. I do realize there are 49 other states. 

 

Not to mention a few more countries than that - you will find that this is a fairly international board.

 

L

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Ultimately, you know your DD best.  I think for some kids early college can be fine, for others it can be a great opportunity and for some it is a nightmare.  We opted to help our daughter identify and pursue opportunities for research and further science study but didn't graduate her exceedingly early (ie. she was seventeen as a college freshman).  This was best for her in the context of her life, our family, and her interest in pursuing athletic pursuits at a high level.  We did luck out a bit in that we have a local four year school where she could take some rigorous science courses through dual enrollment.  I guided her a little in what she took (ie I encouraged her to hold off on taking Organic Chemistry until she was actually on campus because I believed the subsequent courses that branched from there would be relevant to her anticipated major---Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and it would be helpful to be on the same path for them as her peers) but she took some upper level biology courses which built on the foundation of the AP biology course she excelled in (and earned a 5) as a freshman. 

 

I will also say that if your daughter aspires towards a science PhD generally there is a lot of benefit to being at a well regarded undegraduate institution (at least in her area), taking advantage of undergraduate research, and networking opportunities.  It may be a little different in the herpetology world than in the more lab oriented bench sciences but I think this might be another reason to allow her to keep progressing but not push for early college if that would mean settling for somewhat less favorable option either because it is close or because it where she fits if you plan to send her off at thirteen or fourteen.  

 

I agree that if you are  going for an academic position, there are only a handful of institutions that can advance that agenda significantly - the Ivies, Stanford, Cal Tech, MIT etc. If you are going for a professional position, and if getting a job is not an issue, then it makes little difference where you get your ticket punched.  My philosophy is to get through the process as soon as possible. My kids agree.  Early college is not for everyone, but consider that, if Stanford is your goal, and if you homeschool, how do you get there without early college? Serious question. Will your daughter get all 800s on her SATs? Even that isn't enough. For many years I was in the Penn Alumni network and I was part of the interviewing process. I saw plenty of 800 candidates get rejected. The ones who got accepted had something very special, even unique. If you are looking to get into a top school, you need to show something that few others have. I would say you need to have a plan starting very soon. 

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My DH's undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees come from two different Ivy Institutions.  He still has a decent connection with both in terms of funding their endowments and helping their students with networking.  Having said that, I don't think that really had any bearing on the admissions process when our eldest daughter was applying. Perhaps it would have had more impact if she was a more marginal candidate, or if she wasn't a  D1 caliber athlete [who ultimately opted to attend a non-Ivy US top 10 university], but overall it seems that the legacy weighting factor is becoming less and less important every year. I think this is positive.

 

Being a D1 athlete will get you accepted almost anywhere. However, I hardly think the Ivy League would be for such a person if being a professional athlete was their goal. If her sport was swimming maybe. Trust me if you are a legacy and you have given to your alma mater, it does make a difference. And IMO it should. Legacy families love and support their schools. Why shouldn't they be treated more favorably?

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I got to Stanford Law without early college. I did it by graduating Magna Cum Laude/PBK from a top liberal arts college, doing reasonably well on the LSAT, serving six years in Army Special Operations, living and working internationally with a top management consulting firm, earning a prestigious, post-graduate fellowship to study comparative law in Russia, and interning in DC every summer with various think tanks. I had a very strong hook as the Russian spook girl. My classmates all had similarly strong hooks and credentials. Legacy status plays very little role.

The market for lawyers continues to be terrible -- even more so for graduates from regional law schools.

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I got to Stanford Law without early college. I did it by graduating Magna Cum Laude from a top liberal arts college, doing reasonaly well on the LSAT, serving six years in Army Special Operations, living and working internationally with a top management consulting firm, and interning in DC every summer with various think tanks. I had a very strong hook as the Russian spook girl.

My classmates all had similarly strong hooks and ccredentials. Legacy status plays very little role.

 

The market for lawyers continues to be terrible -- even more so for graduates from regional law schools.

 

Yes, with your credentials, I would think you could get in anywhere. As for legacy status at Stanford,  I do think that if Leland Stanford's great grandson applied to Stanford, and if he had a C average, and scored 350 on his SATs, he would still get in.

 

I should also add that you seem to have taken between ten and twenty years setting yourself up for Stanford Law. Not everyone wants to spend that much time preparing for professional school.

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Yes, with your credentials, I would think you could get in anywhere. As for legacy status at Stanford,  I do think that if Leland Stanford's great grandson applied to Stanford, and if he had a C average, and scored 350 on his SATs, he would still get in.

 

I should also add that you seem to have taken between ten and twenty years setting yourself up for Stanford Law. Not everyone wants to spend that much time preparing for professional school.

 

I was rejected by several law schools. I got into Stanford when I was 24, deferred my admission for one year, so that I could continue working overseas, and graduated on time. If I had gone to college early, I would have never been able to fully develop my hook. High test scores and grades are not a hook; they are a given. IMHO, most bright students are better off following a similar course. Following one's passions -- whether into the world of snakes or espionage -- will best demonstrate one's capabilities, commitment, emotional maturity, tenacity, etc.

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Interesting thread. I wanted to address a few subjects that have been raised.

 

First, there was the idea that no one will "hold it against" a 10 year old if they get a bad grade in a community college class.  While I certainly don't want anyone thinking that life is over and the sky is falling if their dual enrolled student gets a lower grade in a community college class, I think it is important to understand these grades are real college grades and they do count. They will need to be reported in college admissions. Graduate and professional school typical requires all college transcripts. While it may seem like everyone would be impressed a child was in college young and cut them slack for bad grades that isn't actually how it works. If anything scrutiny may be higher. I strongly suggest that homeschoolers have experience with "outside" teachers and grading before they start college classes. If you have the choice get your feet wet with online or non-college classes first.

 

As we discussed in the other thread it is certainly possible for early college students to very well out of schools that aren't at the top of the rankings. That's also true of students who attend mid tier colleges at the traditional age. It is important to understand though that expectations are actually higher for students who attend lower or mid tier schools. The mid tier state u GPA is not viewed the same way as the Ivy/highly selective school GPA. For students with the highest ambitions like admissions to top 20  graduate or professional programs, the expectations are extremely high. They really do need to pulling very strong grades in undergrad and in many fields there is an expectation of some grad work in undergrad too. That's not to say that admissions to a top 20 grad program should be every student's goal. Rather, if a potential goal you really don't want your student in college until they can earn top grades and are ready to take advantage of opportunities.

 

Finally in terms of law school admissions I'd keep in mind they are getting less competitive by the minute. Due to very poor employment prospects, applications are down 37% since 2010. I would not generalize too much from experiences with law school admissions to predict admissions in other graduate or professional fields which are much more competitive and depend very heavily on testing that is difficult to do well on without really strong undergraduate preparation. There are highly verbal people who can do well on the LSAT without a specific plan of undergraduate studies. Some of the top ACT/SAT scoring kids in high school could pull a good score on the LSAT without ever going to college. This is not true of MCAT for med school. For the MCAT have to actually know core subject content and if you are relying on a foundational biology or chemistry course you got a B in at a lower quality school, that may not be adequate preparation.

 

To sum up...I'm in full agreement with the posters who say early college really needs to be approached on a case by case basis looking at the individual student, their goals, and their resources. It is absolutely a great choice for some. It isn't the magic cure for all gifted homeschoolers though. It really needs to be approached thoughtfully with an understanding of the long term ramifications.

 

Editing to add:  A Dean from Penn Law says that legacy status is not considered in admissions. The value of legacy status varies widely in undergraduate admissions and people often overestimate the current importance. There is a big difference between "donating money" and being a major contributor, name on the building kind of level.

 

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What about patent law? I always heard that was a good field, or is that area having problems, too? I'm just asking because I'm curious, btw. :)

 

Patent law requires an engineering or science degree so there are fewer law school graduates competing to get into the field. My brother has a CS minor but didn't have quite enough credits to sit for the patent bar exam. So while he works in technology law, he could not be the lead attorney on a patent case unless he went back to school.

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  Trust me if you are a legacy and you have given to your alma mater, it does make a difference. And IMO it should. Legacy families love and support their schools. Why shouldn't they be treated more favorably?

 

Only the most wealthy "development" legacies have a shoo-in at the Ivy caliber schools because there are far too many highly qualfied legacy applicants to admit most of them. My alma mater, Stanford, rejects something like 85% of all legacy applicants. Now that is more favorable odds than the general application pool, but the ones who are getting in are not the marginal candidates unless they have some other hook like Affirmative Action, recruited athlete, etc.

 

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FWIW, I've been gone all day but I'd like to add another two cents. Sea Conquest's post reminded me of something, that about half of my class at a top-tier school worked for two or more years between undergrad and law school. (That would include both myself and my dh.). That particular school valued work experience for the reasons Sea Conquest mentioned. So did law firms.

 

Your dd should understand that there can be big downsides to attending a lower-tier school than might otherwise be possible. First, there is significant geographic pigeon-holing for any school outside the top (15) tier (or maybe the top-20, though even that can be a stretch; I am not exaggerating). What if she decides after law school that she might like to try living someplace other than New England? FWIW, I thought I was breaking free just moving 700 miles to the east coast to attend college at 18...at 22, I bought a one way ticket to California with a whopping $1500 in my pocket, at 25 I drove back to the east coast and ultimately landed in the Midwest...now we live in the Rocky Mountain region; my dh's practice is national/international.

 

Second, there's a difference in the types of firms that are willing to hire from lower-tier schools and with that comes a price in terms of the intellectual sophistication of the practice and the corresponding compensation. I'm not saying that it's impossible to break out of the pigeon-holing, just that it can be quite difficult, especially when the market is as it has been for the past two decades. (Take this from someone who ran a summer associate program at a boutique firm in a large city.)

 

Third, law school can be the first time a bright student finds such a large number of intellectual peers, "finding one's people," so to speak. Just another factor; for me personally, that turned out to be an important one, even though I had previously attended a selective college. Perhaps I wasn't mature enough to gravitate to my intellectual peers between 18 and 22 years old.

 

Bottom line, I am still of the position that most people should at least apply to the highest-ranked schools (if they can stretch to something in the top tier or top 20) that would be reasonably possible considering grades and scores, and then see how the finances shake out. In your dd's case, that might possibly include something just inside the top-20; I'd at least consider it even though it seems like a stretch.

 

As for that handy calculator that Georgia in NC linked, my stats are really old, but the school I attended is listed as giving me a 75% chance, the top-5 school I was wait-listed at a 50% chance, and Harvard a 27% chance (where I was rejected). That was with grades similar to your dd's but from a more competitive undergrad and much higher test scores.

 

Other random thoughts: the JD/MBA joint degree people I know (my school has a top B school) are working in business rather than practicing law. As for intellectual property (patent, etc.), AFAIK, that practice area is common at large or boutique firms, the same types of firms who typically hire from top schools almost exclusively. A STEM undergrad degree does offer a nice hook for that area. I highly recommend an undergrad major in an area of interest that could offer a career path if law school doesn't end up happening.

 

Ok, more than my two cents... One of the downsides of early college is making big decisions from a limited perspective, so I am trying to offer more.

 

p.s. IMO there is no disadvantage whatsoever on the LSAT for a homeschooler who lacks extensive standardized test experience. On the other hand, just thinking out loud, I kind of wonder whether some sort of brain maturation in early adulthood could make a difference with the logic section (I performed significantly better on the LSAT at 24 y.o. than I did on the SAT at 17)

 

Eta, I agree with Barbara that law school admissions is less-competitive lately - like right now - than it was back when I attended (it feels like it was yesterday and I forget how old I really am)

 

Eta again, now that I think about it, one of my college roommates attended a random law school and went to work in her hometown. Her family is very involved in local politics and so forth, and now she is some sort of high ranking attorney for some part of the government of an area which shall remain nameless. For her, it worked out nicely and I can totally see her fitting well in her current line of work, a bright person, very tough and quite successful at what she does.

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Vegesauras, welcome to the board. 

 

I've got a couple of questions.  First, I'm not clear on how doing fewer classes will help my son.  Looks like when he enters full time, one year early, he will slot into 300 level mathematics courses.  This means that his undergraduate will consist of 300 level and graduate level courses, rather than 100, 200, and 300. So he will have exposure to more types of mathematics from which to choose from for his grad work.  If he did early-entrance, he would have a much less developed understanding of field of mathematics and what part he was interested in.  Do you see this as only a mathematics issue? Perhaps mathematics is more differentiated than other subjects?  Perhaps it takes longer to gain skill? 

 

Also, for him the moment he enters full time, he cannot compete in the IMO (international math olympiad).  From what I can tell, attending the IMO is worth delaying full-time university entrance from the point of view of a resume.  So I guess I would like to know how you would weigh these types of options.

 

Finally, the moment my ds enters full time, he will focus in math and math only.  No more violin or mandarin, both of which are passions of his but both of which always fall to the bottom of his priorities when there is math to do.  For him, delaying full time entrance allows him to be a fuller person.  Interested to hear your comments on this.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I agree that if you are going for an academic position, there are only a handful of institutions that can advance that agenda significantly - the Ivies, Stanford, Cal Tech, MIT etc.

I'm sorry, but this is absolutely not true. I have several friends who currently teach at Harvard, Brown, etc. who did not attend your handful of schools, at least not in undergrad (and some not for their PhDs). I think you mean well, and I am glad your choice worked out for your family, but IMO you are mistaken in many of your pronouncements.

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Interesting thread. I wanted to address a few subjects that have been raised.

 

First, there was the idea that no one will "hold it against" a 10 year old if they get a bad grade in a community college class.  While I certainly don't want anyone thinking that life is over and the sky is falling if their dual enrolled student gets a lower grade in a community college class, I think it is important to understand these grades are real college grades and they do count. They will need to be reported in college admissions. 

 

 

This is similar to the case about early exams in the UK.  There is no slack given just because pupils take the (public) exams for university entrance when they are young.  Scroll down to Age and Stage.

 

L

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Finally, the moment my ds enters full time, he will focus in math and math only.  No more violin or mandarin, both of which are passions of his but both of which always fall to the bottom of his priorities when there is math to do.  For him, delaying full time entrance allows him to be a fuller person.  Interested to hear your comments on this.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

This is a driving factor in our decision to delay dds' college entrance as well. We maxed out the high school requirements, but despite this they graduated two years early. Where we live, this could go directly to a top university (they get in automatically on the basis of their leaving exam scores). For dds this would have meant going straight into medical school/engineering school a few weeks after their 16th birthday. They are both, however, passionate about other subjects as well. DD2 loves music and is taking two years at a regular school on a choral scholarship where she sings in the only choir of its kind in this country. Once she goes to medical school, she will carry this love and knowledge and experience of music with her, through school and through her life as a doctor/researcher. I'm glad she has the opportunity to develop this interest now and to this degree. It would not be possible if she were to go straight to university now. DD1 has a similar situation, where she is now spending a year in a different country, learning a different language. It's not necessary for her to do this but it will certainly be helpful to her in her career and, most importantly to me right now, she's having a great time with none of the pressure of university. We consciously decided not to do early college and the girls are glad they're not doing it. Situations differ, I agree, and what works for us will not work for others. JMHO, YMMV.

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I was rejected by several law schools. I got into Stanford when I was 24, deferred my admission for one year, so that I could continue working overseas, and graduated on time. If I had gone to college early, I would have never been able to fully develop my hook. High test scores and grades are not a hook; they are a given. IMHO, most bright students are better off following a similar course. Following one's passions -- whether into the world of snakes or espionage -- will best demonstrate one's capabilities, commitment, emotional maturity, tenacity, etc.

 

If you graduated from a liberal arts college, and were not early college, you would have been 21 or 22. If you then worked six years for Army Special Ops you would have been 28. And if you followed that up with working overseas that would have added a few more years. How on earth did you do this by age 24?

 

But I agree with your point - follow your passion.  But I would add, "But keep your feet on the ground." If someone wants to become the world's greatest expert on snakes, they need to get a Ph.D.. Getting a Ph.D. requires going through undergraduate and graduate school. Just doing your own thing without the proper credentials is a no win situation. Obviously, whether or not early college is the right thing is up to the individual. Getting into a really good school is not easy. Just showing up at the door with a passion for something won't do it. You need something to put you in front of the crowd. 

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