LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — Students are back in class at Metropolitan Community College's Longview campus, and one student is starting her college career earlier than most.
Brayisha Avery wrote her first college paper at age 12.
"I like it. It's really fun. You learn a lot," said Avery, who goes by Bray. "What I especially like about college is you get to choose what you want to do."
Avery explained how she is able to start taking a college class at just 12 years old.
"I've been homeschooled for about three to four years and so we just sort of like kept moving up grades because we were just like flying through them," she said.
Now, Avery is starting her high school coursework and coming to her first college class this semester. She takes an English class at the MCC-Longview campus.
At Metropolitan Community College, the dual enrollment program is one of the many ways students like Avery can start earning college credit before they've finished high school. This semester, more than 1,700 high school students are enrolled in one of those programs, most of them juniors and seniors.
"And then that makes their college education, once they graduate, less expensive, they're transfer-ready, and it helps them get through their four-year degree that much faster," Katherine Swanson said.
Swanson is the MCC Longview campus president.
"It's not for everyone and I would say it's for very few that are that young, but if a person is that talented and ready for it, then we're happy to meet with them and see if it's the right place for them," she said.
Avery took a placement test before starting class at Metropolitan Community College.
"The first day, I came in actually to sit down there, sitting with her," said Avery's mom, Karesha Worford. "So I was really nervous at first, but she's winging it and she's like, she feels really confident doing it, so I'm like, ok go ahead."
Worford is proud but not necessarily surprised.
"All I've ever wanted to do was to be a support system to her and help her and push her along the way, and I really don't have to do too much pushing because she's a natural," Avery's mom explained.
KSHB 41 asked if Avery is the youngest student in Metropolitan Community College's history.
"You know in our, you know 100 plus year history, it's hard to tell. I know we've had a couple who are a little bit younger, but not a lot," Swanson said.
To Avery, starting college courses early means starting her dreams earlier too.
"I wanna play basketball or I wanna be an astronaut," Avery said.
She also dreams of being done with college around age 17 or 18 and maybe finishing at schools like Harvard or Yale.