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Would you let you 13 year old attend college - even if he/she were academically ready to do so?

I saw on the Tyra show today a 13 year old who was in college with THREE different majors! He was obviously a very bright boy and I think it's awesome he has the opportunity to attend college so early but at the same time I really don't think a 13 year old should be in college and especially not with such a huge workload - he is still just a kid! He was talking about how his best friend is 20 and that he's "comfortable" around older people but I couldn't help but feel sorry for this boy who seemed to have completely lost his childhood! Thoughts?

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:25 PM on Apr. 23, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • I went to college camp at the age of 12- It was a full college semester taught in three weeks. It was a summer camp, but we got the college credit, it is called the Duke TIP program. The camp had kids ages 12-16, it was a blast! Some kids love to learn. I started attending regular college classes at the age of 15. I think it is ultimately the decision of the child. I was. always more mature than my peers and college classes gave me an intellectual outlet. I was bored in my high school classes- I actually did better in the college classes.

    I saw the Tyra show today too. The boy seemed happy with his life. His mother even said she did not push him to do it, it is just what he needed. If my daughter was that bright you can guarantee she would be in the classes that best suit her- even if that means going to college at the age of 12.

    Answer by imamommmmyyy at 10:33 PM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • That is a toughie, it does seem like he'd be losing his childhood, but on the other hand what else would he be doing. Someone that smart would probably not be happy - or maybe fulfilled is the word I'm looking for - going to jr high with kids his age group. If he's smart enough and dedicated enough to be taking three majors in college at 13, he'd be bored silly doing jr high work and might be too intense and too brainy to relate well to kids his own age.

    It's a fine line between challenging him academically and leaving him time to be a 13 yo kid - and I have to be honest, I'm glad it's not something I'm faced with.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 10:38 PM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Well, I would let mine. He is bright enough..but, not commited enough.

    All his friends are older. He is more comfortable around older people...he is too advanced thought wise for younger folks.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 10:40 PM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • I wouldn't do it. College is not a place for a young person who is not emotionally ready for it. Most college age kids are not even ready for it. There was a follow up story on 20/20 once about the kids in the 80's who went to college young. They did not turn out to be rocket scientists or attorneys. Most ended up in middle class type jobs and regretted that they missed out on being a kid.


    Answer by BlooBird at 10:40 PM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • I'd allow them to take a few courses at the local community college, but still have the local public school figure out how to stimulate my child as that age really needs to be with their peer group.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 11:04 PM on Apr. 23, 2010

  • Yes I would. If they are mentally ready; then they need the stimulation.

    That doesn't mean they need to "live" on campus...but I don't see how attending classes on a college campus and going home after school is any different than attending High School all day and then returning home.

    This boy you feel bad for - which is natural btw - would feel so out of place an awkward around kids his own age. He would be made fun of for 'talking funny' because let's face it - if he's intelligent enough to be in college at 13; he's not really into sitting around playing xbox or wii or whatever it is regular 13yr old boys do to waste time.

    His brain is begging him to fill it...I can't understand trying to hold them back from being everything they forcing them to attend if that's not what they want is a different should be the child's to where they get to learn if they're that cognizant.

    Answer by beachmamaof2 at 12:25 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • No. There are plenty of ways to be intellectually stimulated. It does not necessarily mean going to college at 13. Yes, they might be mature for their age or like the company of older kids but I'd rather that my child enjoy her childhood as much as she can. We are only young for a brief period of time. We are only carefree for the first 20 years of our lives while the rest of it are spent with so many responsibilities. Why rush it? Since that boy is very intelligent, there are so many other things he can dabble on. Like being involved in social causes, learning different languages, working, learning vocational stuffs, training for sports, etc... The child can afford to do all of these things because he has a lot of free time to spend because he can easily learn things. That's just my opinion. But I do respect the parents of that boy. It's their son and they would do what they think is best for him.

    Answer by LavenderRose10 at 1:55 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • I would, but not all by herself.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:05 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • There are academically advanced schools with gifted children can learn with peers.

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:35 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

  • my guess is that a child that far beyond his peers, is more comfortable with people he is more like minded with. i wouldn't let my child live on campus.

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 8:31 AM on Apr. 24, 2010

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