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Dropping out of high school

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Hi all. I'm currently a Junior at a small Jewish private school. Every day in school, I sit through eight hours of classes which are essentially review of what I already know, with the exception of about one class every two weeks which presents new material. This time could be much better spent doing personal study and I would learn much much more than what I currently learn. As an example, I tought myself all of single variable differential calculus in three days; my calculus class plans to take the whole first semseter. So, I have seriously been considering dropping out of high school, spending the next two years in intensive personal study or perhaps one-on-one study with a tutor, then attending college. I have two questions: Did anyone here do anything like this, and what do you think should be done?

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I didn't do anything like that, but I do have some questions. First, have you discussed with the school authorities how to accelerate your progress, i.e. complete all of the requirements much quicker? This is a variant of "dropping out" without actually dropping out, namely, dropping out of the regular slow stream that you're in and creating your own accelerated teach-yourself program (with appropriate supervision from real teachers). I did that in a snooze of a science class, and I have a friend who trimmed his high school time by a year doing that in a lot of classes. Second, assuming that the school would not allow you to do this and that you don't personally have the financial means (or permission) to change to a different school, have you investigated the consequences of this action for the kind of college you want to attend? For example, do the schools of your choice have a prejudice against applicants with a GED? How do you establish academic ability for them without a GPA (or with one that only covers a year and a half)?

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My school refuses to bend in the slightest, unfortunately... Some of my teachers allow me to do other work in class, but there's no real reason for me to be in the class in the first place... As for the consequences for college, while I do want to get into college I find it very difficult to treat high school in any way as just a stepping stone towards it. I am in high school to learn as much as possible, not to get into college. Even if there indeed were prejudices against applicants with a GED(something I'm having difficulty researching as I have barely started looking into which colleges I want to attend), I'm not sure that would be a factor. If a college will not accept me on my own terms, then I will not want to attend that college. If I find that my terms involve ending this massive waste of time(which I am increasingly finding they do), then I will attempt to get into college on those terms or not at all. If that means I need some way to show academic ability, so be it. Grades rarely represent academic ability these days anyway.

[Edit to address a statement of DavidOdden's]

My parents will not allow me to attend another school, and I have long since lost respect for their opinions on issues of education. If my eventual decision is to drop out and they will support me (or allow me), then fine, but if not I am finally of age where I can get emancipated (the main reason I didn't do this years ago)

Edited by Cogito
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I am currently in law school, but I was in your situation not too long ago for it to be forgotten. Here is my advice, for what it is worth.

Don't think of school as any more than as the "stepping stone" that you wish it wasn't. When I was in high school, I figured that once I got to college the endless grade-grubbing and politics of trying to get into a good college would end and the real learning would begin. Only in college, the process starts all over again and if anything is even worse as you compact even brighter people together trying to figure out how to play the system to get out of college and into a job or grad school. Now that I am in law school, the process is ramped up yet again with more mindless tedium only this time in an attempt to get a good job after law school.

The one lesson I have learned from the whole experience is having the necessary educational prerequisite will never hurt you, regardless of how it was obtained or how many boring or useless classes you had to sit through to get it. Once you get to my age you will never be thinking "I wish my grades were lower in high school" or "I wish I went to a worse college." You get stuck with whatever you did, and it will affect you for the rest of your life.

Thus while it seems now that school is pointless it really is not. Stick with it, get your "ticket punched" and once you are older and have the opportunity to choose what you want to do then at least you have the freedom of that choice. Dropping out of high school, even if you are bright is likely only to limit your future opportunities.

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My advice is to apply to a college, such as MIT, that doesn't require you to have finished high school to be accepted. They allow people to apply as Juniors. I would try that before doing something as drastic as dropping out. If you're accepted, then you won't have to worry about high school anymore anyway. If that doesn't sound like a good option to you, then I don't know what to tell you. I was in a similar situation three years ago. I switched schools because I couldn't take it. I'm not sure what I would have done otherwise. Proabably just been miserable, which is obviously not anyone's first choice. I wish you well, whatever you choose to do. :thumbsup:

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Do you have some idea of the type of career you wish to pursue?

Yeah... I want to teach at either the high school or college level, or possibly open up my own school.

once you are older and have the opportunity to choose what you want to do then at least you have the freedom of that choice

The only problem is, I'm not sure I want any career that, for whatever reason, requires the mindlessness that claims to be our education system.

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