KELLER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A teenager from Keller will spend this summer preparing to enter law school at SMU next fall.
Haley Taylor Schlitz is showing everyone the path to great academic achievement does not have to be traditional.
Taylor Schlitz, 16, has plenty of hobbies typical of a teenager: she plays piano, takes fencing lessons and plays video games with her younger brother and sister.
When it comes to schooling though, she is years ahead.
“I was extremely fortunate to have parents didn’t take no for an answer and pull me out,” Taylor Schlitz explains of her transition from public school to homeschooling.
She made the switch in 5th grade.
Taylor Schlitz says her parents thought she wasn’t being challenged enough, which she was was reflected in her grades.
They had her privately tested and determined she was gifted and talented, then began homeschool. She and her mother recently authored and published a book – “The Homeschool Alternative: Incorporating a Homeschool Mindset for the Benefit of Black Children in America” – about her journey.
Homeschool proved to be a launching pad for her. On an accelerated track, she entered Tarrant County College at age 13, then transferred to Texas Woman’s University.
After two years at TWU in Denton, she graduated this May, majoring in Education. Taylor Schlitz was a member of several honors societies, the Student Senate and the Leadership Institute while at TWU.
At the May 10 ceremony, she was a featured speaker — the youngest graduate on record at Texas Woman’s University.
“I wanted to be at a university that believed in my potential to achieve my dreams,” she said confidently, before the crowd of graduates, professors, and families.
“At TWU the environment is extremely welcoming. You could be 50 and this is your first time in college or you could be like 14 and this is your first time in college. It’s like everybody has their own story and being different there is normal,” Taylor Schlitz explains.
A college grad at 16, Taylor Schlitz is not done yet. She took the LSAT last summer and applied to nine law schools, and received nine acceptance letters.
SMU was her top choice. She’ll start at Dedman School of Law in August, commuting from home in Keller.
“I want to work in educational policy. I have a whole bunch of aspirations, like starting a school… I want to actually practice for the experience as a lawyer. I want to be a judge on a school board. I have a lot of goals,” she says with a smile.
It’s one thing to be gifted and talented, but it’s another thing, Taylor Schlitz says, to have passion and the opportunity to excel. “It was a combination of both hard work and I had the opportunity to work hard to get here. Maybe it was smarts, but I think it was more the other two.”
Haley’s younger brother and sister are just as bright: her brother, Ian, is 13 and heading to UT Dallas in the fall. her sister, Hana, is 11 and a freshman in homeschool high school.