This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 3, 2007 4:56 PM. The previous post in this blog was America is dead. The next post in this blog is Larry Craig: A nation reflects. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Skipped ahead

Here's a 15-year-old starting classes at an Ivy League university. As someone who went through school almost as fast as this gal has, I've come around to thinking that it's not such a hot idea. It's the social side of things that presents the greatest challenges. I remember my mom driving me to the commuter college I attended for the first four and half months of school -- that wasn't cool.

Curiously, from high school on I reacted by hanging around with students who were a year ahead of me in grade -- so that everyone was two or three years older than I was. Maybe it was some sort of defense mechanism. If you're going to be the baby in the class, you might as well make it obvious.

I don't envy this student -- the program at Penn is probably going to be more rigorous than college was for me, and she's thousands of miles from home -- but I wish her well.

Comments (5)

Personally, I always thought I should have jumped a couple of grades, but my teachers never saw it that way.

Steve Novick, however, went from Cottage Grove to Harvard at about the same age, and he seems to have done okay. I'm still voting for him to challenge Smith.

She's a math goddess, and age is just not that much of a factor in math (one of three fields where prodigies arise -- math, chess, and music). Far better that she be put where she will be challenged and find people able to keep up with her (by dint of their extra years) than she stay home and puddle through.

One of the reasons America is slipping internationally is that we've extended childhood to such an insane degree -- but in most difficult fields (physics, math, etc.) you've shot your wad by 30 or so. If you ever are to win the big prizes/have the big breakthroughs, it will be for work done before 30.

We need to spend a lot LESS time testing the piss out of students and a lot MORE time figuring out how to pose enough challenges to the super brights, and to get them into settings where they can really think about important stuff as soon as possible.

Don't forget about Kiwi Camara's experience @ Harvard Law.


My significant other went to college before he was even a teenager. Based on his experience, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone unless I really hated them. But now I'm curious Jack, how old were you when you started college?

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