14-year-old Danielle Carson will begin working on her bachelor's degree this fall at Stetson. She lives at a farm house on 15-acres in Eustis, Fla., and takes care of the horses and other animals. (Charles King/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Fla. Girl, Only 14, Set To Begin College Life At Stetson University

By Gabrielle Russon
Orlando Sentinel

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A 14 year old home-schooled student from Florida will be among this fall’s class of 920 freshman at Stetson University. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the talented Danielle Carson. #GETREADYWORLD

EUSTIS, Fla.

Danielle Carson, 14, is almost two years away from getting her braces off or her driver’s license.

But next week she is starting college.

On Thursday, Danielle’s mother planned to drive her to Stetson University, a small, private school in DeLand, Fla., to start studying math.

“I love getting the answers and working through the puzzles,” said Danielle, the kind of teenager who answers with a “yes, ma’am.”

Danielle, who has been home-schooled year-round, will be the youngest out of this fall’s class of incoming 920 students, which includes a pair of 16-year-olds and a 55-year-old, the oldest.

While it’s unusual for students so young to go to college, it’s not unheard of.

At Stetson, a 13-year-old enrolled at Stetson about a decade ago.

Ahmed Mohamed of Tampa enrolled at the University of South Florida at age 15. This spring, he graduated with a 4.0 GPA with plans to go to medical school and law school at the same time.

Adrian Gilliam was the youngest student accepted into the University of Central Florida when he arrived on campus at age 13 in fall 2011. UCF has only kept records on students’ ages since 2004.

Now, on the verge of turning 19, Gilliam is a software engineer living in the Atlanta suburbs. The 2015 UCF graduate says he might get his master’s degree in computer science at Georgia Tech.

“No matter what happens, you have to set your own goals and your own standards,” was his advice to Danielle.

For at least the next three years, Danielle will continue to live with her mother and her father, Jamie, a computer programmer, and her 12-year-old brother, Josh, on 15 acres in Lake County. She earns a $1 a day allowance feeding the farm animals and sells chicken eggs so she can someday buy a car and drive herself to school.

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