Instead, she'll get the opportunity to watch him graduate in Lane Stadium. Despite the long distance from home and his relatively young age, Gahr decided to attend Tech.
Gahr is part of a very small percentage of students who have enrolled in the university at such a young age. A large portion of the student body graduates senior year with a traditional diploma, Johnson said.
“We have some home school students that didn’t officially graduate from a public institution but met all the core requirements to be given a diploma,” Johnson said.
However, it is not a requirement for students to have a diploma when applying to the university unless they intend on playing a sport for the school.
Virginia Tech offers an early admission application for high school juniors who wish to be considered for early enrollment. They must fulfill the same requirements as high school seniors in addition to having three different documents by the high school principal, parents, and the student.
While applying early may appeal to some, it does not mean it is the best option.
“It’s not advantageous. I think it’s a maturity level there. I mean there are some 16-year-olds that are probably more mature than others and some are more mature than the 17 and 18-year-olds, but it really depends on the individual,” Johnson said.
Despite the age of the student, the admission process considers whether the student can succeed in the rigorous coursework based on their high school profiles.
“We’re not admitting students that we don’t think from the front end could be academically successful here,” Johnson said.
Gahr’s ambition and academic success reflected in his course load through his four to five AP classes as well as his involvement in the high school marching band and San Bernardino County Honor Band.
It has also spilled over to his professional career. His sophomore year of high school he interned with California Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter.
His experience in both arenas has made his time in college no different than the typical incoming freshman.
“I wanted to get out of high school. I felt like I was just there and nothing was happening,” Gahr said, “I was going to apply here anyways, I might have ended up here anyways.”