Just a week after her 14th birthday, a metro Atlanta girl is making history as the youngest student ever admitted to the historic Spelman College.
Sydney Wilson, who celebrated her birthday just last week, will kick off her freshman year at the all-female historically Black campus this fall as the youngest student in school history, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“This is the first time in recent memory that we’ve had an admitted student this young,” Ingrid Hayes, VP of enrollment management at Spelman, told the newspaper. “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.”
Wilson said she plans to major in biology, with hopes of using animal science to discover cures for human diseases.
The extraordinary teen is no stranger to academic excellence, so her college acceptance didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Wilson’s family says she mastered algebra by the first grade and started studying advanced placement biology and world history by the time she turned 12. Wilson said she learned early on that she wasn’t like the other students: she was a standout.
She admitted fitting in was tough at times, and that she was often teased for being “too smart.” Still, she didn’t let it get to her.
“I just stayed on my path,” Wilson told Atlanta station WSB-TV. “I didn’t really feel like I needed to be popular … because, I mean, I like myself.”
Unlike most girls her age, the DeKalb County native said she spent much of her time outdoors rather in front of a TV when she was growing up. When she wasn’t outside digging up dirt or searching for frogs, Wilson said she sometimes made a rare exception to tune in to animal documentaries.
Although her academic prowess put her classes with students that were sometimes seven years her senior, Wilson insists she’s still just a kid.
“People might think I am separate from the rest of people my age, but there are some facets of my life when I am still just a kid,” she said. “I still like to play LEGOs, and I think it’s cool to still play with LEGOs.”
So exactly how did she get here?
According to her family, Wilson attended Montessori school until she was about 6 years old before transitioning to home-schooling. She later began attending private school, and by age 10 it was abundantly clear that she was far ahead of the pack.
The then-elementary aged scholar started taking up high school classes at the Wilson Academy, a local private school founded by her father, Byron Wilson.
The doting dad credits the Montessori school for putting his daughter on the path to excellence.
“And she just kept going,” he told the AJC.
Wilson was just 13 years old when she applied to Spelman College. A short time later, the school sent her father an email alerting him that she’d been accepted.
“So, he calls me in and he says, ‘Look at the computer!’ So I looked at it, and I just melt,” Wilson told WSB-TV, reliving the moment she received the good news. “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.”
The straight-A student said she plans to live on the Atlanta campus and spend her weekends at home. She said she’s used to being around older students, so the age gap doesn’t faze her.
“I am so excited to be in the sisterhood,” said Wilson. “So many women have reached out to me and have been very nice and supportive, and I am so excited to see what my life will be at Spelman.”