U.S.

A 16-Year-old Will Graduate Both High School and Harvard Almost Simultaneously Next Year

Braxton Marol, 16, attends Ulysses High School and will be receiving his high school diploma May 19. While most students take another 4 years to achieve a bachelor's degree, Braxton will be walking across Harvard University's stage just 11 days later. 

The 16-year-old started attending Harvard's Extension School at just 11 years old. His parents were contacted by the Duke University Talent Identification Program, a non-profit organization that helps gifted students, while Braxton was still attending elementary school. 

"They said he was having existential depression,” his mother, Julie Moral told the New York Times. “It’s where you’re like, ‘What’s my purpose? Is there a God?’ It’s something that most people have — a midlife crisis. He had it like, in fifth grade." 

The non-profit advised Braxton's parents to look into Harvard's Extention School. The program wasn't keen on an elementary school-aged student in their program; however, after Braxton scored well-above average in their courses, their attitude shifted. 

Despite Braxton's abilities, both his parents didn't think of rushing through high school as an option. 

"We wanted him to have the high school experience so he would develop his social skills,” Mrs. Moral told Hutchinson News. "I sat down one day and looked at the requirements to graduate from the high school and from Harvard and made a four-year chart/plan that made it happen." 

While still attending high school, Braxton made it a point to play down his attendance at an Ivy League college. 

"I've had a great time during high school," the 16-year-old said. "I didn't want any type of divide or awkwardness, so I treated this as a little thing on the side, and nobody really treated me any differently – which I really appreciated."  

Braxton won’t receive a degree from Harvard College but is allowed to list on his resume either Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Harvard University Extension School or Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Extension Studies, Harvard University.

But graduating Harvard isn't the end of the road for the 16-year-old. In fact, he wants to continue his education and hopefully graduate from law school at the age of 20. 

"If I get into the law school, I can graduate when I'm 20, while the average age to get into law school is 27," he said in a USA Today report. "So, I always have that age boost."

As the New Year rings in, Braxton looks to submit his application to Havard Law – just before his 17th birthday in February. 

With a degree in government and a minor in English, it looks like Braxton's name is a name to remember. 

"I've been interested in politics since middle school, and ultimately would like to make a career out of that." 

And it looks like he already has an exceptional list of references, including Kansas Governor, Dr. Jeff Colyer – whom he met in March. 

“I told him, he can do whatever he wants, as long as he changes the world and makes it better,” his mother told New York Times.  

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick