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Simon’s Rock Early College This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Great Barrington, MA: When I went to college after tenth grade, many of my former classmates wrongly assumed that I had gone to a boarding school. I've grown accustomed to explaining that it's possible for me to be 17-years-old and a sophomore in college.

Until a couple of years ago I was not aware that there were alternatives to the traditional public school system. As a sophomore in high school, I came across Bard College at Simon's Rock, a liberal arts school in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This institution offers students the unique opportunity to begin college after their sophomore or junior year of high school. I've wanted to become a writer since I was very young. This ambition brought me to Simon's Rock for the Young Writers Workshop and serendipitously led to my enrollment in its early college. There I learned to organize my thoughts and write essays and stories in many genres.

Simon's Rock has a superb faculty; every class I've taken has been an engaging experience. Professors use a roundtable format that lends itself to lively discussions. Because the classes are small, teachers are very approachable, and collaborating with them is easy and organic.

Those at Simon's Rock have helped me mature as a thinker and opened my mind to new ways of looking at things. This is a small community that brings together students from diverse cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds. We have gotten to know one another very well – one of the advantages of the small class size. The environment allows me to mingle with people of many interests whom I would not have been exposed to otherwise. Two of my housemates, for example, are expert ceramicists, and I've developed a sincere appreciation of their art.

Conversations about issues ranging from politics, to religion, art and literature have been the best part of campus life. Everyone brings a fresh perspective to the table. Over the course of these two years, my class has become my family.

Simon's Rock is not the only school that offers higher education to younger students. Another program is the Bard High School Early College in New York City. Ambitious teenagers may benefit from these options if their high school education isn't helping them reach their potential. High schools put a lot of emphasis on preparing students for standardized tests. This practice leaves much to be desired as students rush to answer multiple-choice questions to beat the ticking clock. And the pressure placed on teachers to ensure their students succeed on these exams limits their ability to hold open discussions, digress from the curriculum, and allow students to explore ideas.

I was fortunate to have stumbled onto Simon's Rock. I've returned to my former high school several times during breaks and found that even some teachers and guidance counselors are unfamiliar with the concept of early college. National Public Radio recently did a segment that described the college and its curriculum in depth. This publicity captured the attention of several students in the class below mine, and ultimately led to their enrollment.

I'd like more students to be aware of the fact that their high school is not the only option out there. If you're a motivated teenager looking to enhance your education, visit Simon's Rock, sit in on a class, and consider whether starting college early is right for you. As Joel and Ethan Coen, two famous Simon's Rock alums, wrote in their Academy award-winning film “No Country for Old Men,” “You stand to win everything.” See more at simons-rock.edu.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 33 comments. Post your own!

hannahbananasplit said...
Jan. 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm:
I just got a mailing from them and I was practically drooling at the mouth. My current school is a religious school with great academics, but this is so different. I wish I could go...
 
KatsKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm :
Me too. My school is religious with great academics and awesome people, but I think this could be a great opportunity. I'll be applying next year....
 
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lemonbeagle3 said...
Jan. 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm:
Hi, I'm in eighth grade, and I am in the process of filling out an application for a early collage high school. I had not been aware that some early collages had writing workshops, being that I am a little fuzzy on what is taught at the schools. Hopefully the one I might attend has a Writers Workshop!!
 
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curiousalum said...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm:
Hye, I graduated from SR 6 years ago, and I'm just curious whether their career services has gotten any better. Do they have real resources for kids looking for jobs? Actually emphasize how important internships are? Programs about life in the real world? Back then they pretty much trained kids to either go straight to postgraduate school or just kind of fumble around to figure out how to get a job as a 19 year old college graduate. How are things now?
 
Notimelikethepresent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm :
Okay, well Sue Lyon is very helpful at helping sophomores successfully transfer to other colleges. She is extremely efficient and went out of her way to drive me to tour and interview at Skidmore College, where I ended up transferring to. She helped me negotiate with their registrar so I could transfer in as a junior despite my age. From what I've gathered, many members of the most recent senior graduating class have gone on to find jobs and live fulfilling lives after the rock.
 
super12345 replied...
Dec. 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm :
They recently hired a new director of career services. I haven't worked with her, but my understanding is that she is very helpful in terms of finding job/internship opportunities and transferring.
 
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Naomi518 said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm:
thanks it really did! I got to a small school as it is (less than 100 students) so I think it might be a good option for me! I will definatly visit sometime soon though! :)
 
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NYClove13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm:
It's so cool that you're only 17 and a sophomore in college!
 
Notimelikethepresent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm :
now i'm 19 and a senior in college!
 
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tessarella said...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm:
I got accepted into the Young Writers program here, and loved the facualty so much that I am considering applying! The dorms and food were both fairly good. The RAs (who are/were students there) are all amazing and nice people. Great Barrington is very small, but there are several things to do in the main area, which is a bus ride away.
 
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Naomi518 said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 9:02 am:

I found Simon's Rock online and have been considering going for next year. I just have a few questions if you don't mind taking the time to answer:

-do people go there from public and provate schools?

-how's the food?

-do they have a good arts program (photography for me personally)?

-are people generally nice? is there lots of drama?

-(speaking of drama) is the theater department good? what kind of plays do they do?

-is there a big religious and/or r... (more »)

 
Notimelikethepresent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm :
okay i'll try and answer all of these as efficiently as I can. I got my AA at Simon's Rock in May 2010 and I've visited since then and it is very apparent that the institution has changed dramatically.
 
Notimelikethepresent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm :

your prior education doesnt matter.

the food is less than stellar.

the art studio is very fancy and has many options. the best employee that the school has, Mr. John Snyder, works in the photography darkroom.

The people are generally friendly and nice but there is a lot of drama stemming from awkwardness and miscommunications as well as the small class size. not speaking ill of anyone really helps. 

 
Notimelikethepresent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm :
just contemplate how badly you want to start your life over anew at this institution because even though it is very great for all the reasons that i described, the flaws that emerge from being such a small institution are hard to ignore. I hope this has helped.
 
Naomi518 replied...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm :
thanks it really did! I got to a small school as it is (less than 100 students) so I think it might be a good option for me! I will definatly visit sometime soon though! :)
 
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IamtheshyStargirlThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm:
I'm thinking about going into college early, cool article. 
 
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guineapigjuju said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 8:47 am:
I stayed at this college for four weeks during the summer for a French language immersion program. It has a really nice campus, great facilities, awesome food. So, materially, it is very very nice.
 
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ashbadash said...
Dec. 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm:
Wow it sounds like an amazing place. Very well writtien article too.
 
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wildflowergirl said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 9:18 pm:
WOW. This is amazing. It's so cool that your in college already.....I love the idea....and this is really well written.....there's not really any programs like that near where I live, but I wish there were....I love writing and I'm actually working on a book.....this has been an inspiration to see how you can do this.....it shows me that I can....thanks.....great article.....=)
 
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grimer said...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm:
am i the only one that remembers the mod 3 dance parties?
 
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