How I Went to College Too Soon: Definitive Version

If people find out that I only went to three years of high school but didn’t drop out, they wonder how it happened. Here’s how it happened. This is the official, final version to which I will refer all future questions. It really is a long story. Here goes:

When I was a junior in high school, I found out about a program at the University of North Texas that allowed students with an 85 average and meeting some other criteria to complete their final year of high school concurrently with their first year of college. Finally, I had discovered my way to escape my small town! I applied and was accepted to begin at UNT during the summer before my senior year of high school.

As soon as I arrived on the UNT campus, I asked for an appointment with an admissions counselor. When we met, I told him that I very strongly disliked (hated) small town life and would like to complete high school in Denton while living in the UNT dorms. He said he could arrange that, if I wanted. Then came a question: “Did you really read the papers you signed to get in here this summer?”

I thought I had.

He told me that my admission to UNT was unconditional — not dependent on returning to high school. It was agreed and assumed that I would continue in high school, but it wasn’t in the paperwork and it wasn’t required. I was 16, accepted at a major university and already moved into the dorms. UNT was the only university I ever seriously considered, although I can’t really remember what I liked about it so much. Things were fun for a couple of weeks. I was overwhelmed, though. I couldn’t sleep in barren dorm room, so I stayed up most nights hanging out in the lobby with a couple of friends. That seemed normal enough.

I didn’t stay long. My small town had not prepared me for big city (well, medium city) life, and I got into some minor trouble in the dorms. I was thrown out of the dorms and out of the university within about three weeks because I had involved myself with someone who turned out to be the most important student on campus. And things went bad right away. I was allowed to complete that summer semester, but I couldn’t return.

My semester at UNT was all the proof of eligibility I needed, however, to enroll in a community college. So, off to Weatherford College I went. It was a rocky time because I had very little experience with life and absolutely no social skills, but I made it through a couple of years. I went on to the University of Texas at Arlington, where things went very well. My BA in Communication came in 1994.

I would like to say that I have a college diploma despite never completing high school, but I was forced to get a GED while I was at Weatherford College so that I would be eligible for financial aid. It’s really a better story if I leave out that detail, so forget I mentioned it. Actually, the more details I include, the less interesting the story gets. Isn’t it funny how that works?

So to put it simply: I’m the guy who went right to college after his junior year in high school and never got discovered.

(Note to any administrators of WC, UNT or UTA who happen to be reading: I explained all these things to you at the time, so I didn’t break any of your rules. Really. Probably.)

This post originally appeared on my So Much More Life blog at www.gipplaster.com before I decided to focus that blog more tightly on simple living and minimalism. I moved this post here because it doesn’t fit in very well there.

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