Simon’s Rock is college now for motivated younger students ready to realize their intellectual and creative potential.
Our students typically enter Simon’s Rock after finishing 10th or 11th grade, which means that they skip the last year or two of high school and arrive at Simon’s Rock without diplomas. They make a deliberate break from the standard academic track to dive straight into college at an age when most of their peers are just heading into their junior or senior years of high school.
But Simon’s Rock is not some kind of "halfway" college or an unconventional prep school. It’s a rigorous four-year institution, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), part of the prestigious Bard network, and regularly recognized for its excellence (ranked #7 in the Princeton Review’s top 20 schools with the most highly rated faculty; students awarded 9 Fulbright fellowships since 2010).
We know this path is not for everyone, but for those who make the leap, choosing early college at Simon’s Rock has been demonstrated over 50 years to give our students a head start on finding and pursuing their passions—and to set them up for a lifetime of personal and professional success.
The time to undertake a challenging interdisciplinary college program is the moment a young person is most curious about the world, most driven to ask big questions, and flexible enough in their thinking to make profound connections. For many bright students, that time comes well before a conventional high school track allows.
At Simon’s Rock, our students thrive because they are given the chance to do challenging work in an engaged community at the moment they are ready for it.
“Early college” is a term used to describe a number of different programs. By “early college” some people may mean AP classes or IB programs, or dual enrollment at a high school and college. It is also sometimes used to describe a situation in which a student graduates early and enrolls in college classes with an older cohort.
Early college at Simon’s Rock is different. We’re the only full-time, four year, highly ranked college of the liberal arts and sciences designed for motivated students ready for college after the 10th or 11th grade.
If it’s the right decision for you, you’ll leave high school (a diploma isn’t required) and start college.
While many Rockers were academic stars in high school, some were students who failed to prosper under the limits and constraints of the typical high school experience—students who did not flourish academically until they got to Simon’s Rock. We examine each applicant holistically when evaluating college-readiness, looking for students who aren’t motivated by grades or acing the test, but who are instead motivated by ideas, by the prospect of knowing more, making connections, surprising themselves, and applying their brains to thorny problems and complicated issues.
Simon’s Rock is a small, intensive college of the liberal arts and sciences specifically designed to offer students a broad-minded, paradigm-shifting college education after the 10th or 11th grade. We take young minds seriously enough to offer a full college experience beyond what they might get from an AP/IB class or a test that duplicates college textbook material, offering over 40 concentrations (our version of majors), plus a large (and ever-evolving) selection of special programs, internships, and study-abroad opportunities.
See for yourself what the academic experience at Simon’s Rock looks like.
Our students benefit from the guidance of talented and dedicated faculty and the support of experienced Student Life staff. It’s a support system thoughtfully conceived to help younger college students find their footing and make their way into adulthood.
Rockers know that once you have your BA or AA without finishing high school, you’ve received all the credentials you’ll need to meet your educational and professional goals. Grad schools and employers may want to know your story, but they’re most interested in how well prepared you are for the challenges ahead, not whether you have a high school diploma. Starting college early at Simon’s Rock gives our students many more options for completing their studies and pursuing their goals. They’re ready, earlier, and have the degrees to prove it.
Fifty years ago, Simon’s Rock was founded as the nation’s first early college, and we’ve been an innovative leader ever since. We are a proud member of the Bard network, and have helped shape a vision for early college that sets the highest standards for excellence and exceeds expectations for student support.