The Daily Northwestern

Freshman enrolls at Northwestern at 15

Mia Hariz, Reporter

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Weinberg freshman Alex Gordon was just 15 years old when he started his first course at Northwestern during Summer Session 2013.

Gordon, now 16, skipped grades throughout elementary and middle school, allowing him to graduate from Highland Park High School two years early and begin his college career at NU.

“I was pretty much treated normally throughout high school,” he said. “Though I did get some extra jokes about my driver’s license and being under the legal age of consent.”

After kindergarten, he went straight into the second grade for reasons that have slipped his memory. He stayed on pace until Winter Break during his seventh grade year at Edgewood Middle School in Highland Park, Ill. When he returned to school from vacation, he was an eighth grader.

“My math and science classes just got boring for me, so my parents and I thought it would be a good idea to try to move up a grade,” Gordon said. “My school was very accommodating, too. They were much more open to the idea than other schools would have been.”

Though Gordon breezed through his upper-level classes, he didn’t just do homework. In high school, he judged elections for the city, as well as participating in scholastic congressional debate and the philosophy club.

His schedule is just as busy in college. Gordon debates on the Mock Trial team, writes for the Northwestern Flipside and works as a part-time research assistant at the Kellogg School of Management. He’s also a member of the Student Admission Council.

Weinberg freshman Jimmy Chang,who competed against Gordon in high school debate, said Gordon was “probably the smartest guy” he had known.

“It’s weird because he’s so much younger than us, but he’s vastly more intelligent than anyone I’ve ever met,” Chang said. “His level of intellect is just beyond anything I comprehend.”

Gordon says adjusting hasn’t been too difficult. Classes were never a problem for him, and they aren’t now.

“I’m not having any trouble with my classes,” he said. “It isn’t much of a change from high school.”

Gordon, who is majoring in economics, took 310-2, an intermediate microeconomics course usually taken by sophomores and juniors, as a Fall Quarter freshman. He is now enrolled in the upper-level macroeconomics course 311.

Gordon said things have been going well socially, too. After all, since skipping the first grade, he’s always been the youngest of his classmates.

“There haven’t been any severe adjustments,” Gordon said. “I kind of think it’s surreal that people are 20 though. It’s like, you’re elderly.”

Twitter: @miahariz