14-Year-Old Girl Becomes Youngest Spelman College Student

A 14-year-old girl from Georgia became the youngest person to be accepted into Spelman College. Sydney Wilson will start at the historically Black college in the fall and will become a member of the Class of 2023, WXIA-TV reported. An admission letter obtained by the station states that the teen has “a portfolio demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, a commitment to service in your community, and strong leadership potential.”

Wilson graduated from The Wilson Academy in Lithonia, Georgia on May 18 after taking high school level courses, and was co-valedictorian, according to WXIA-TV. The academy is a private grade four through 12 school that focuses on financial education, critical thinking skills, and STEM, according to the news station.

Wilson’s parents enrolled her into the school when she was only 10 years old, WSBTV reported. During her time at the school, she scored in the top 1 percent in the country for her age on the SAT, according to WXIA-TV. She was the lead programmer for the robotics team, president of the Rotary Club, played center-back for the high school soccer team, and ran track.

Wilson said she was just 8 years old when she first visited Spelman College. "My school always does a college tour just to give kids exposure so they don't think about just one college, so I had gone on a Spelman tour when I was 8, and I really liked the vibe there — a lot of strong, Black independent women around me, and it seemed like it really had a sense of community," Wilson told the news station.

The teen told WSBTV she knew she was different by the time she started the second grade. Wilson said many of the students in her class used to tease her for being too smart, according to the news station. "I just stayed on my path," Wilson told the news station. "I didn't really feel like I needed to be popular... because, I mean, I like myself." The Wilson Academy posted a statement on its Facebook page congratulating Wilson on her achievements.

“Congratulations to Wilson Academy student Sydney Wilson, who at the age of 13 has been accepted to and will be attending in the fall the #1 HBCU in the country, Spelman College! Way to go!! Continue to work hard!!!” the post read. Wilson turned 14 on May 15. Wilson said her father received the email that she was accepted into the school, and posted the news to social media.

"So, he calls me in and he says, 'Look at the computer!' So I looked at it, and I just melt," Wilson told WBSTV. "I was screaming and I was crying. I ran out to tell my family, and we took a bunch of pictures and posted it on Instagram and everything." In a statement to The North Star, Spelman said this is the first time in recent memory that it has admitted a student this young.

“Sydney has shared with us that she intends to enroll. We are excited to welcome her to campus in the fall, along with the rest of the incoming class,” said Ingrid Hayes, vice president for enrollment management at Spelman College. Wilson told WXIA-TV that she wants to major in biology and will be living on campus with other students. She added that she is not worried about the age gap.

"I think it will be a smooth transition being accepted there, and I'm really just excited to be part of the sisterhood," she told the news station. "I want to actually be a student and be a part of Spelman instead of just showing up and taking classes there."

In March, 17-year-old Dylan Chidick from Jersey City, New Jersey, received 17 college and university acceptances. Chidick, who was formerly homeless, also received a full scholarship for tuition and room and board from Give Something Back, a nonprofit foundation that helps provide scholarships and mentors to students from low-income families working on getting a college degree.

“I wasn’t really sure if I wasn’t going to get into college because I don’t have the perfect grades or perfect GPA or perfect SAT score,” Dylan told the North Jersey Record. “But I knew that when college admissions read my essay and see me as a whole person, I’d be OK.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.