Too Young For College

Too Young For College

When 13-year old Anastasia Megan tried to dual-enroll (take college courses while finishing high school coursework) in her local community college, she was denied entry because of her age.

Last month, 15-year old Chendara Tiraphatna became the youngest graduate at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas.

Typically reserved for adults, albeit very young adults, mental images of college do not conjure the image of a 13-year-old carrying books across campus.  However, if the mission of college is to continue one’s education after high school, should there be an age restriction?

“I’ve heard some people say, ‘She might be educationally ready but she might not be mature enough,’ ” Chendara explained in a recent interview with Inside Higher Ed. “I get really upset with that. Sometimes I feel like I have a higher maturity level than some of the students I’m with in class. If you’re educationally ready and you want it, why not? Age is just a number, and people mature at different rates.”

While Chendara makes a good point, universities have cited safety risks associated with permitting young students on campus.  Since college campuses are not as guarded as high schools, officials worry about a child’s safety on campus.  The young students argue that while they may have to deal with adults in adult situations, they are more mature than other young teens and are capable of handling the problems that arise.

The issue with young students in college is that there is a hidden curriculum that is taught when attending a university.  While all who have graduated from college remember bits and pieces of basic psychology and other coursework, we also learned quite a bit about being an adult while we were there.  Are teenagers ready to be in this type of environment?

Are social maturity and age factors to consider when it comes to admission in to college?  Should it be simply a matter of academic ability?