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Haley Taylor Schlitz to become youngest Black law school graduate at 19

May 7, 2022


She graduated high school at 13, earned an undergraduate degree at 16 and received nine law school offers. Now, at 19, Haley Taylor Schlitz is days away from becoming the youngest Black law school graduate in the U.S., according to Southern Methodist University in Texas.

Taylor Schlitz’s graduation day, scheduled for May 13, will mark the end of her three years at SMU’s Dedman School of Law. This accomplishment cements Taylor Schlitz as an expert in navigating advanced learning programs at public schools, officials for the university said.

When she was in fifth grade, Taylor Schlitz’s family began homeschooling her after it became clear that the public school system was not supporting her learning needs and reportedly did not allow her to test for the school’s gifted program, per the Birmingham Times.

“I was just being taught to pass the end-of-the-year test to get to the next grade,” she told the Birmingham Times. “I wasn’t being taught to learn.” She later added that being denied the opportunity to pursue the gifted program “sparked a fire” in her to fight inequality.

After graduating high school at 13, Taylor Schlitz spent one year enrolled at Tarrant County College before applying to and earning 15 acceptances to undergraduate programs. She chose to attend Texas Woman’s University and at 16, graduated as the school’s youngest graduate in history, per her personal website.

She set her sights on a law degree as a way to “pursue her passion to make positive change in our world,” according to her website.

Among the nine law schools that accepted Taylor Schlitz’s application were Howard University School of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law and her eventual choice, SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

“I think the entire educational experience has really helped me grow and learn who I am better,” Haley told the Dallas Morning News about her atypical path to higher education. “A lot of people find that out about themselves a little bit later in life. My education has really helped me get to know who Haley is.”

Post-graduation, Taylor Schlitz says she plans to take her talents to the field of educational policy, working with an elcted official or non-profit group on matters such as “increasing the opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color,” per SMU.

“Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation’s gifted and talented programs,” Taylor Schlitz said. “Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color.”

“I really want to help students realize their potential even if they can’t home-school,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”

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