Acceleration has long been known to be the single, most cost-effective form of gifted programming that a school can use. Acceleration can take the form of advancing within a single-subject, usually math. For other children, an entire grade skip is a more appropriate option. Radical acceleration occurs when a student skips three or more grades.

Occasionally, a school administrator will balk at the idea of skipping a child more than two grades. The question may come down to: Where will the child go to school, if they graduate before the age of 16?

Maryland regulations allow for gifted and talented students to be admitted to community colleges and public universities throughout the state. Specifically, COMAR 13B.02.02.15.B(2) says:
. . . an institution may admit to college level courses and programs individuals who present evidence, through testing or other means, of the ability to profit from the instruction. In making decisions about the potential of these individuals to complete a course or courses, or programs, the institution may consider previous formal education, equivalency of other learning by examination, and competencies gained through practical experience, maturity, or other appropriate criteria.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission goes on to define gifted and talented to mean "an elementary or secondary school student who is identified by professionally qualified individuals as having outstanding abilities in one or more of the following areas: (a) General intellectual capabilities; (b) Specific academic aptitudes; or (c) Creative, visual, or performing arts." (See COMAR 13B.07.01.02.B(18))

The following colleges have an established history of admitting highly and profoundly gifted students as young as ten. When admitted as part-time, oftentimes these students fall under the college's parallel or dual-enrollment program. Full-time early college students are generally required to meet the same admissions criteria as other incoming freshman.

Individuals listed under each school are the designated contact person that families should be in touch with to discuss early college options.

  1. University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    From UMBC's website: Early admission is available to those students who have exhausted their high school course options and would like to enroll full time as degree-seeking students. Applicants must meet the university's regular admission requirements. A letter of recommendation and permission to enroll from the applicant's high school is also required. Applicants for early admission must interview with the Admissions Committee.

  2. Stevenson University
    Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Assistant Director of Admissions at 443-352-4432 or esfitzgerald (at)

    From Stevenson's website: A minimum cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 (B) is required for admission. Students who wish to enroll in English or math courses must submit SAT or ACT scores for placement purposes. Students applying for parallel enrollment must submit an official high school transcript; letter of endorsement from their high school guidance counselor; and letter of permission to enroll from a parent or legal guardian. Students accepted to the program receive a Stevenson University Parallel Enrollment scholarship of $100 per credit.

  3. Towson University

    From Towson's website: The High School Parallel Enrollment Program (formerly called College in Escrow) is designed for high school students who want to take courses at Towson for college credit. Students must have a B average and an SAT score of 500 on each section of the SAT (or 50 on the PSAT). If you are a "home-schooled" student, then please send the most recent evaluation from the supervising organization, as well as any standardized test results.

  4. University of Maryland, College Park

    From College Park's website: Although the University of Maryland generally requires applicants to earn a high school diploma prior to their first full-time registration, the university will admit a limited number of well-qualified students without high school diplomas. Successful applicants pursue a rigorous high school program and demonstrate exceptional performance and ability achieved. Students must be within two credits of high school graduation.

  5. Harford Community College
    Brian Hammond at 443-412-2379

    From HCC's website: High school juniors and seniors have four options by which they may attend Harford Community College while still attending high school. Students may waive all of their senior year and still graduate with their high school class. Students may enroll in college credit courses and use these courses for high school graduation credit as well as college credit. Students must contact the high school guidance office to complete the application. Students may enroll in college courses that meet during the regular school day and spend only a part of each day at the high school. When choosing this option, the HCC courses would not be used for high school transfer credit. Students may enroll in college courses that meet beyond the regular school day but choose not to use these courses for high school transfer credit. No Harford County Public Schools application is required.

  6. Montgomery College
    Germantown Campus: Cathy Kwolek - 240-567-7816 or cathy.kwolek (at)
    Rockville Campus: Maria Adams - 240-567-5039 or maria.adams (at)
    Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus: Jonathan Howie - 240-567-5802 or jonathan.howie (at)

    From Montgomery College's website: For standard admission into the Early Placement Program, students will have completed their sophomore year prior to their participation in the program. Home-schooled students must submit documentation indicating the school is in compliance with state and county educational guidelines and meets all other requirements. Students under the age of 16 must be interviewed with a parent and approved by the dean of student development or designee.



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