But Isys is no normal 15-year-old.
This summer, the Stone Mountain resident will be preparing to enter Bard College in Great Barrington, Mass., in the fall and looking forward to her “going away” party on June 12.
To say that Isys, who has a 3.5 grade point average, is excited is an understatement.
“I see this as an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” said Isys, who applied for and won a $45,000 merit scholarship after hearing about it on National Public Radio.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock is the nation’s only college of liberal arts and sciences specifically designed to provide bright, highly motivated students with the opportunity to begin college in a residential setting after the 10th or 11th grade.
“The school sounded interesting so I decided to apply,” she said.
Her mother, Sherrill Peoples, said the application process was “rigorous.”
“She had to fill out the application, write three essays, and get recommendation letters. My husband and I even had to do an interview.”
She said the school’s admissions team wanted to ensure that Isys is mature enough to handle entering college at an early age.
Like any parents, Peoples and her husband, James, were nervous about the idea of their only child attending college early.
“We were scared at first. But once she got in and received the merit scholarship, we were like ‘OK, it’s a reality,’ and we accepted it. We didn’t want to hold her back.”
Peoples said her daughter has always been mature for her age and is very active. “She is very independent.”
Isys, who likes to read and write poetry and short stories in her spare time, said she is very excited about skipping two grades to attend college. “It feels really good that I can accomplish something like this.”
Not even missing prom and other junior and senior activities could persuade her to miss the opportunity.
“I was going to go to the prom, but I wasn’t truly excited about attending it. I will miss all my friends and the opportunity to walk across the stage with them at graduation.” Isys said her friends were shocked when they heard the news.
“They were upset in a small, loving way,” she said with a giggle. “My classmates in general were shocked.”
She said that some of the ninth-graders now seem interested in the idea.
“I have a friend in the ninth grade who has already mentioned the idea to her mom.”
Isys said that she will get a letter from Chamblee saying that she earned the credits to receive a GED or high school diploma.
Because Bard College focuses more on liberal arts and only has a pre-engineering program, Isys can only complete three years of her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering at Bard. She will participate in the Simon’s Rock/Columbia University Engineering Program that will allow her to transfer to Columbia to complete her degree.
“It’s like a free ticket to Columbia.”
Isys said she plans to join a community service club once she arrives at Bard. She also wants to start her own club that will advertise the school in the South.
“The school is well-known up North, but it is not advertised in the South and West.”
She said that after she completes all of her education, she plans to get a job in the industrial side of mechanical engineering.
“They do a lot of designing, and that’s what I want to do – design.”