These days, it's entirely possible for teens to earn a graduate degree by 22.
A variety of programs make this possible. There are dual-enrollment programs, where students can take courses for high school and college credit. At early college high schools, students may be able to earn a diploma and an associate degree in the time it would normally take to earn the former.
Students at Saint John Vianney High School, a private school in New Jersey, may be able to earn their MBA by the time most people earn a bachelor's degree through a new partnership with Georgian Court University, a local news publication reported last month.
There are slew of accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs nationwide.
"Societal norms don't always make the best use of young people's time," says John B. Weinstein, dean of the early colleges for Bard College. The four-year liberal arts college operates a nationwide network of public and private early colleges, including private Bard College at Simon's Rock and public Bard High School Early College Manhattan.
Bard's early colleges aren't just for students to earn high school and college credentials quickly, Weinstein says. They want students to do something effective, useful and engaging with their time. They are not trying to rush students through their education, he says, but some young people are ready to take on more than others might think.
Here are a few reasons why teens should learn about graduate school.
1. Knowing about career pathways is helpful: Some teens don't necessarily know graduate school is required for certain occupations, such as for physicians, says Weinstein.
Talking about graduate school in high school is one way to help students think about what career might be right for them and what steps teens will need to take to get there, he says.
Many faculty members at Bard's early colleges hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degrees in their field, which is a good way for students to meet someone with these types of credentials, he says. That can help students see the possibilities, he says.
Neal Conley, director of the Academic Resource Center at Temple University in Pennsylvania, which offers advising to undeclared students, among others, agrees it's beneficial for teens to know about all the options out there. Temple, for instance, offers a range of accelerated programs.