8th grader opts for really early college admission

As the rest of her eighth grade classmates finish up the school year and make plans to see each other again in the fall, Michelle Vaisman ‘12 will be cleaning out her locker and getting ready to go to college, skipping all of her high school years.

Vaisman will enroll in Mary Baldwin College, a women’s university in Staunton, Va., through their Program for the Exceptionally Gifted.

“I didn’t intend on going to college until a postcard came in the mail in early December 2007 asking me for my SAT scores,” said Vaisman.

Vaisman took the SATs in seventh grade through Johns Hopkins Talent Search and  submitted her scores to the program.

“When they sent me the postcard, I didn’t think about it much. But, when I was called by the Mary Baldwin College PEG Admissions office, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t a joke,” said Vaisman.

“It was real, and it was possible that I could attend college the next year if I was accepted.”

The program founded in 1985 is comprised of girls 12 to 16 years old who are part of the regular academic program but live in a dorm together. 

 Vaisman’s score of 1740 on the SAT qualified her for a $13,000 Bailey Merit Scholarship, the highest scholarship Mary Baldwin offers.

Hesitant about attending college after middle school, Vaisman decided to visit the college and see more about what she would be undertaking.

Vaisman visited the college for four days, where she met professors, attended classes and slept in a dorm with other students who had been chosen for the PEG program.

Vaisman eventually decided that attending the college would be the right option for her.

“I’m still feeling bittersweet because I’m leaving such a great school and all of my friends,” Vaisman said. “Now, about five months after being accepted, I’m certain that this is the right path for me to take.”