A gifted 16-year-old Texan is going from home-schooled to law school.
Meet Haley Taylor Schlitz, the Fort Worth teen who graduated high school at just 13 years old and is now headed to law school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Local station FOX 4 reported that the bright-eyed teen is set to graduate college this spring before joining the incoming class of students at SMU’s Dedman School of Law in the fall.
“I was like, ‘what’s one way that I can get deeper into my own education and really have credentials, strong credentials to go out there and make a change in society?’ And I was like, that sounds like a lawyer,” Schlitz told the station.
According to SMU officials, Haley is believed to be the youngest student ever to attend the university’s law school. Despite her young age, admissions counselors couldn’t help but notice Schlitz’s impressive résumé of academics and extracurricular activities.
It was after fifth grade that the young woman’s parents withdrew her from public school and began home-schooling her after noticing their typically straight-A student was getting bored with the curriculum. From that point on, Schlitz’s parents said she breezed through high school, which she started at age 11, and was ready to start college.
Schlitz began taking classes at Tarrant County College in 2016, entered Texas Woman’s University in 2017, and is now expected to graduate with a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies come May, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“I was just being taught to pass the end-of-the-year test to get to the next grade,” the aspiring lawyer told ABC’s “Good Morning America” earlier this month. “Home-schooling helped me go at my own pace and thrive on my own terms. I was able to skip what I knew and do what’s at my intellectual level.”
Schlitz isn’t the only phenom in her family, however. The teen’s 13-year-old brother is college freshman, while her sister, 11, is a freshman in high school.
Schlitz’s parents admit they were a bit taken aback when their eldest daughter expressed interest in applying to law schools but remained supportive throughout the process as she was accepted into not one, but NINE different law school programs, including at Howard University, Texas Southern University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, just to name a few. Schlitz ended up choosing SMU because it allowed her to stay home and attend school.
“Like wow, she did this. Getting ready to go to SMU Law? It’s truly we’re honestly speechless most of the time,” Schlitz’s father told FOX 4.
In addition to pursuing a law degree, Schlitz has written a book. “The Homeschool Advantage,” published in January, was co-written by Schlitz and her mother, emergency medicine physician Myiesha Taylor, and teaches families the benefits of home-schooling, according to the book’s website. The 214-page read also explores the kind of mindset students need in order to succeed.
After graduating law school, Schlitz said she hopes to practice law and become a judge. She also dreams of opening her own business one day and wants to create a program aimed at helping other gifted students of color.
“I really want to help students realize their potential even if they can’t home-school,” she said. “I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”
As reported by the Texas Lawyer, Schlitz will attend a six-day summer program with the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington for incoming law students.
Watch more in the video below.