DOWNEY – The Early Entrance Program, or EEP, is open to all students from the ages of 11-15. This program is offered at Cal State Los Angeles and allows gifted students such as Natalie Deo to enroll into college at an earlier age.
Natalie was a student at Warren High School before she was accepted into EEP. With the help of her mother, she made the decision to apply at the end of her 8th grade year.
The first step to apply is taking the ACT or SAT to find out whether you have qualifying scores or not. If you do have qualifying scores, you must schedule an interview with the director of the program. If all goes well, you may be selected to attend the summer Honors Academy.
After all this, you will be notified a couple weeks later to find out if you were accepted into EEP. Those accepted are expected to graduate 5-6 years later with a Bachelor’s Degree.
After experiencing the entire application process, Natalie was given a two hour calling period where she would find out whether she had gotten into EEP or not. “I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.” Natalie was stressing out during her family trip to Canada while she was waiting to hear back about EEP. About an hour and a half into the calling period Natalie was finally contacted by the director of the program to be told that she was accepted.
Natalie explained the emotions her and her family were going through as she had received this life-changing call. “My mom had to pull over because she was shaking.” She said after revealing that she was on the verge of crying when she heard the news.
All the support from her teachers, friends, and family helped her so much throughout the entire process.
There are about twenty one students in Natalie’s class who share the same intelligence and interests as she does. Once she graduates from EEP, she plans to attend Stanford or MIT and hopes to eventually work for Apple or Tesla. Although she has no set occupation in mind, Natalie would like to major in Mechatronics. This major consists of mechanical, computer, and electrical engineering.
Starting college at a young age may sound terrifying, but EEP tries to recreate the high school experience.
Natalie still volunteers at Warren High School with ABC and still attends some of Warren’s events.
“I would like to encourage people to take risks because it may just be worth it in the end.” Natalie also encourages those who are interested in EEP to go for it.
Story and photo by Rebekah Ludman, a student journalist attending Warren High.