How old do you have to be to apply to college? - College reality check (2023)

There are many requirements that you must meet when applying to the university of your choice. Some of them include the application form, letter of recommendation from your teacher, a personal essay, supplemental essays, high school diplomas, and SAT or ACT scores. There are also requirements that must be met and one of them is your age.

The problem with this is that unlike your high school grades or your personal essay, you can't relate to your age. Because of this, you may feel that being too young or too old can affect your college selection and application.

So how old do you have to be to apply to college?In the US, universities accept students who are at least 17 years old. However, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. Although rare, accelerated students and students who are home-schooled are also accepted. As with the age limit, US universities do not reject applicants because they are too old.

Regardless of whether you are 17 or younger or older, you can still apply to college. Although there are exceptions to the rule as mentioned above, you must meet all the requirements of the university of your choice if you want to study there.

For example, the youngest boy to enroll in college was Moshe Kai Cavalin of San Gabriel, California. At age eight, he attended East Los Angeles College and earned an Associate of Arts degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

He then attended UCLA, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics at age 15.

Applying to a university vs. looking for a university

You can look for college no matter how far along you are in high school. In fact, a freshman can start attending colleges and attend each one with their parents.

How old do you have to be to apply to college? - College reality check (1)

However, most experts agree that the best time for a high school student is to start looking for collegeduring his third year.

It's a terrible idea to start looking for college when you're already in your senior year. That's because it only makes you more stressed out since senior year of high school is the busiest. If you are in 12th grade, you should focus more on completing your college application requirements.

This is especially true if you want to applyEarly Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA)to increase your chances of getting a place at the university of your choice.

On the other hand, college application is usually done right before high school graduation. For this reason, most universities accept students who are at least 17 years old, as this is the age at which most people graduate from high school.

However, you can apply to college before your senior year of high school.grantsthat can help make your college degree easier.

Also, you can take some college courses while you're still in high school so you canearn college credit.

You can apply to college even if you are already in your 20s, 30s and even 50s. Because there is no upper age limit for application and admission to the university either.

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Is it a good idea to go to college at a young age?

Young children who finish high school earlier than the others may consider going to college immediately. However, they should only do so if they themselves believe that this is the next step in their educational career.

Almost any academic challenge presented to gifted students can be overcome by them, and there is a good chance that they will be successful in college.

However, it is important to note that while your intellect may already be cut off for a college education,Their emotions and personalities may not be.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that a young high school graduate believes that the time is right for him or her to attend college.

Do kids who go to college early become successful?

Many children who attend and graduate from college at such a young age are successful.

For example, Ronan Farrow, who was admitted to Yale Law School at the age of 16, joined the Obama administration as Special Advisor on Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When bright kids get through high school and college with little or no effort, there's a good chance they'll be successful in their chosen careers.

But there are also those who have not been so successful.

For example, Sufiah Yusof, from Northampton, UK, entered Oxford University at the age of 13.

However, he later dropped out and never earned his college degree. It was reported that her parents pressured her to go to college.

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Pros and cons of going to college young

Attending a university at a young age makes it possible to start a successful career as quickly as possible. There is also enough time for a change of course or a degree. However, a very young student may not be able to choose the degree that suits them best.

A lack of life experience can also limit success.

There are many benefits that come with attending and graduating from college at an early age.

One of them is a cheaper college degree, as tuition fees increase by about 8% per year on average.

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However, it can also mean that you run the risk of piling on debt that may leave you no choice but to pay it off through a job, whether the person likes it or not.

Between 20% and 50% of students enter college undecided. A young college student can afford to change majors without being older than everyone else.

Speaking of majors, due to very little life experience, a young student may end up choosing the wrong major or even the wrong career path.

When it comes to academic and professional success, as well as happiness and satisfaction in life, it's not just about the things you learn in class.

Many universities in the US have older students

If you're over 17 and haven't had an opportunity to go to college after high school, there's no shame in pursuing your college degree dream.

Don't assume that you will be the only one older in your freshman year. For various reasons, many cannot study after high school.

Some of them have no idea what university to go to or what program to take. Others do not have the financial means to go to university. Regardless of why you don't go straight to college after high school, you have every right to apply to the college of your choice.

Here's something that may help you deal with your anxiety about going to college because you're afraid you'll be top of your class: Many American universities have students who are 25 and older.

Look at this table for the 2018-2019 academic year to learn that age in terms of college attendance is nothing more than a number:

SchoolPercentage of students aged 25 and over
Strong Lewis College100%
golden gate university92%
Charter Oak State University89%
Brandman University85%
Fairmont State University82%
Peirce College82%
SUNY Empire State College82%
Granit State College80%
post university77%
University of Maryland Global Campus75%

If you attend one of the American universities in the table above, you can not worry about your age. Always remember: you are never too old to pursue your dream, especially a college degree!

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Being too young or too old should not be an obstacle.

Above you have found the names of the universities in the USA with the most students aged 25 and over.

While it gives you the idea that you don't have to be as young as a fresh high school grad to get into college, it doesn't tell you how old you can be to graduate college.

You may be surprised to learn that there are those who have been able to get their college degrees for almost a century!

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There is for exampleLeo Square, who is just a year away from turning 100 when he graduates from college.

Plass first attended college in 1932 but dropped out to work in the lumber industry. However, he went back to college and earned his associate's degree from East Oregon University in 2011 at the age of 99.

Here are some of the oldest college grads other than Plass:

Nameage at graduation
Nola Ochs98
Boston Largo98
allan stewart97
Cliff Dadson93
Wally Taiblesson90
Bertie Gladwin90
Maria Fasan89
bola de charlie89
Anna Martindell87
Willade Zedan85

Some people look too old to finish college, while others look too young to graduate from college. Well, there are children who came into this world with a mind ready to face the challenges that academic learning brings.

There is for exampleMichael Kearney, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest college graduate in human history. Kearney earned his college degree at the age of ten.

The following are some of the younger people who graduated from college besides Kearney:

Nameage at graduation
Moshe Kai Cavalin11
Sho Jano12
Gregorio Schmied13
Carlo Witte13
kathleen wood15
Kim Ung Yong15
Balamurali Ambatí17
Ruth Lorenz17
Norbert Wiener17

Incidentally, the surnames in the table above did not earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.

What they achieved at such a young age weredoctoral degree!Because they have brilliant minds, their too young age has never prevented them from being admitted to the universities they applied to.

How old do you have to be to apply to college? - College reality check (3)

Frequently asked questions about college age

Can you study at 13 or 14?

In the United States, there is no minimum age that students must meet to be admitted to colleges and universities. Of course, high school graduates can be admitted to a bachelor's degree from the age of 13, for which they meet the requirements.

The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits age discrimination against students in federally funded programs and activities. In other words, public colleges and universities cannot reject qualified applicants because of their age.

Under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, a 13- or 14-year-old high school graduate can apply to college.

This is especially true if the institution receives federal funding, i.e. is a public school. Private colleges and universities can also accept 14-year-olds if they meet the minimum requirements.

Go to university at 15

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The majority of 15-year-olds in the United States are in their second year of high school.

But there are also those who are already ready to move from high school to college. Despite being younger than usual, they are perfectly fine with getting a college degree.

Being 15 or younger shouldn't stop them from becoming a college student, especially if they are ready.

Going to college at 16?

A student who graduates from high school at age 16 does not have to wait a year before entering college.

As long as their academic profile and several unique qualities, which are considered in a holistic admissions process, match the requirements of a college or university, the student may be admitted.

However, a gap year is always an option that many institutions actually recommend for students who have not yet decided which undergraduate or career program is best for them.

Can I also apply without a high school diploma?

In the US, universities may accept an applicant who does not have a high school diploma but has an equivalent, such as a high school diploma. a GED.

How old do I have to be to get a GED?

In principle, only those who are at least 17 years old can study and complete the GED. However, a person who is 16 years old can apply for oneExemption from GED age.

Can you take the SAT or ACT at a young age?

There is no minimum age for those wishing to complete the SAT or ACT. This means that it can be taken by anyone of any age, especially those who wish to be admitted to selective institutions. However, most participants in the SAT or ACT are between 16 and 19 years old.

Is there an age limit for receiving federal grants?

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Because there is no age limit for receiving government financial assistance, almost anyone can fill out the FAFSA form. Whether they are younger or older than most college students, like everyone else, they must complete the FAFSA form and submit it by or before the deadline.


Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of College Reality Check.

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