How old do you have to be to go to college | In Demand |

Each college or university has certain prerequisites for admission, in which age is one of the vital requirements. If we see the average age of college students in the US is 17 (freshmen age)

In this article, I have shared interesting facts related to age. Whether you take admission at a very young age, such as 10 or 12 years or older, I recommend you share this article with your friends or siblings who have not unleashed their potential due to age as a barrier.

How old do you have to be to go to college

Minimum Age

While as per the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, no college or university can forbid an individual to take admission due to their age, this act has made a vital regulation in the past decade as many students across the nation aged 10 or 12 years have applied for college admissions,

While the selection of such students is based on academics and maturity, In the below section, I have elaborated on all the steps to take admission at such a younger age,

As per present statistics for spring 2023, there are more than 10 million US students who are admitted to college between 18 to 24. 

If you want to consider the minimum age, you can take 17, while there is no minimum or maximum age for college enrollment.

Age 25 or Older (how to go to college as an adult)

We also found wiggle room for individuals aged 25 and older, as every individual doesn’t get admitted to college right after high school. After high school, some start working in the army, some go on traveling tours to various cities, and some go directly into the workforce.

In the statistics of spring 2023, it has been found that 4 million individuals who are age 25 and older make enrolment for their college studies.

You can also see the statistics of universities for individuals who enrol at age 25 and older.

Advice for Younger Age Students (below 16 years)

Regarding admission procedure in college

For younger students, such as below 16 years old (only example), the procedure for college admission is the same: you need to have a high school diploma, a letter of recommendation, write college essays, and apply through college application.

It’s my suggestion before applying to any college or university, you must discuss with college or university-appointed career advisors. They help you map down all the prerequisites, including their college-age range and paperwork process.

You might have heard or read that community colleges give admission to younger age students more steadily than universities. While it is true, there are exceptions as well, 

When their incident happened to a ten-year-old girl who had applied to a community college, the news went to the heights, as the college forbids the Age Discrimination Act 1975. 

The conclusion was shocking!

The Chancellor of the college had made a limitation to a minimum age of 15 years for their college. As in the act, there is a provision that the Chancellor has the right to change the age prerequisites for their college.

Due to this incident, Before you apply to any college or university, I recommend you to talk with a respected college advisor or counsellor to understand their prerequisite for younger ages (below 16 years).

Advantages of enrolling in Younger Age (Below 16 years)

Being a bright student and enrolling in college at an early age have some advantages, which include

1. You Graduated Early 

2. You will save up to a large chunk of tuition fees, as each year average 8 percent rise has been seen in tuition fees.

3. The opportunity to explore your passion with like-minded people at an early age is also helpful in maturing your thought process.

Additionally, apart from advantages, 

I want to advise you regarding the effects of full-time college enrollment for below 16 years age.

1st Effect

Being overhauled in appreciation in the family for being a bright student and getting overwhelming respect, students think the same special treatment will also be there in college, while it’s not there, 

There is a good difference between the pace of classes in school and college life. Every student is busy in their hustle, and most have taken debt to pursue their goal. In terms of help, they might do, but they are less interested in knowing your achievements. 

Advise for 1st Effect: You need to be self-disciplinary in your studies and grades; it is my advice, rather than discussing your past achievements, to get involved in discussions related to your subjects and help your classmates if they want.

2nd Effect

And secondly, young age students face difficulty adjusting to social life. Most of their classmates are older (more than 17), partying at their weekends, and having relationships. Young students feel emotional trauma, and making friends is difficult.

Advise for 2nd Effect – To evolve socially. You can join the clubs in the college of your interest to meet like-minded people and make friends. The last option is if your home is nearby, you should stay at home with your family rather than living in a college dorm.

3rd Effect

Your parents have been legally responsible for your college decision, whether academics or co-circular, if it involves paperwork. Some students take this as frustration and think of it as not getting freedom.

Advise for 3rd Effect – From my prospect, it’s a good thing your parents are the ones who help you in enrolling at college, and they are the best well-wishers for your life. I request young students to discuss with their families before making decisions in college or personal life.

In conclusion, I would advise young students to focus on their goals and tend to achieve them, as in the end, no friends and any social life gives you satisfaction, but achieving a goal gives you satisfaction for your whole life.

How to go to college early

Preparation for Early Admission and Getting Advanced Classes in College

Take GED

 It is one of the equivalent certifications to the high school diploma. Nowadays, many students who don’t want to take a high school diploma go with the GED exams.

While the Passing range for GED is 145 to 164, to be admitted to college with GED certification, you must score between 165 to 175.

You must be 18 years old to take the GED exam, while if you want to take an age waiver, each state has their requirements.

Taking AP Classes

It is termed advanced placement classes. There is a total of 38 subjects in which you can take classes. Passing the AP classes helps you to earn college credit and get enrollment in the advanced classes. It also strengthens your college application, as getting a good score or passing the exam showcases your interest towards the degree you pursue.

Suggestions for taking AP classes, 

a. Don’t overburden your schedule with AP classes.

b. Choose the AP Classes in which you have an interest, and it should be related to the major you will take in the future,

c. Go through the college policies if you select the college you want to attend, as it helps to know if they accept particular subjects for giving credits.

In the reports of 2022, it’s been found more than 1.2 million students have taken AP exams.

Dual Enrollments

It is another option for students who don’t want to take AP classes. Dual enrollment means you have enrollment in your school and community college. While it showcases some potential in your college application, dual enrollment doesn’t have standardized recognition, so some colleges don’t give credits for classes you study.

It would help if you chose the college or university you want to go to whether they accept dual enrollment for giving credits in particular subjects.

Each state has their criteria for dual enrollment. I have linked the official website; you can check

How to seek advantage of your age ( 25 and above)

If you are considering enrolling in college at age 25 and above, thinking of the constraint gap between your studies, you must take it as an advantage.

1. Being mature, you know why you are pursuing the degree and how it helps you.

2. Professors also love to have mature students in the class; as per them, good discussion takes place in the classroom.

3. Due to the age gap, you understand the market demand and it helps to prepare well for a good job.

We're here for you.

If you are thinking of financial aid, both age groups have similar advantages to financial aid.

I have done my best to provide the information regarding “How old do you have to be to go to college” I request you share this blog and share your suggestions in comments or email. We love engaging readers,

About the author ....

Hi, I’m Erie Wilson “Think Tank” of this blog. Sharing knowledge related to career decisions since 2020, If you have any doubts related to choosing majors or searching for colleges, you are free to ask in the comments or send me an email.