I am Stuck in High School But I Want to Go to College

There is a very strong notion out there that you must graduate from high school (and thanks to all who helped fix the typo here!)  in order to attend college. (Or, at least, perhaps obtain a GED.) Not so. There are all sorts of ways to attend college -- including in Chicago and Chicagoland -- without having graduated from high school. In fact, some institutions in Chicago are among those that have lead in making this the case. And, this is NOT a new idea.

Oh, you say. You mean I can take a college course somewhere instead of taking one of my high school classes. Right?

I can take something in the summer, for example. Where can I do that?

As an example, there are summer courses and opportunities at the University of Chicago for high school students.

Or, I can take it while I am actively and actually attending high school. Right? This is what is sometimes called "dual enrollment"  and is available at an array of places in Chicago and Chicago land.

City Colleges of Chicago is a good place to learn about dual enrollment.  They will also explain dual credit and the notion of articulation. For information, click here.

But, you say, don't I need a high school diploma in order to really go to college? To attend full time? No.

In fact, you can start college as a full time student without a high school diploma. This is often known (insofar as we are talking about sophomores and juniors in high school who start college early) an early entrant program. And they exist in various forms nationally and in Chicago and Chicagoland. They have a long history -- and are of interest both to very highly successful academic high school students and to others as well.

Here is a Chicago(land) opportunity for starting college without graduating from high school.

Shimer College

This notion was invented in the mid-20th century and in the Chicago area included the University of Chicago and Shimer. The latter continues to offer the option. More recently, a number of places have joined the movement, including most notably the University of Washington. And, there are places like Bard College at Simon's Rock that specialize in just this population. Here is a place to see some of the history of the notion of early entrant programs.

So: stuck in high school? There are many options. And they are not all the same as "dropping out."



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    I entered Shimer college in 1964 at the age of 16, after my junior year of high school.

    As my older brother, who had entered Shimer as an early entrant in 1956, responded on GE College bowl to to the question: "Did you miss anything by not having a senior year?"

    "A lot of wasted time".

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    Shimerprez is the 14th president of Shimer College at 35th and State. She also blogs at the Huffington Post and at a Shimer Blog called Evocations which can be found on line at blog.shimer.edu/provocations/. She is a University of Chicago Ph.D. who works on religion, the social sciences, gender and sexuality. She reads murder mysteries, is fascinated by the world of food, and also loves the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

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