For Law, it was logical to graduate at 17

Kaylee May Law, 17, is ready for graduate school after Friday's GCU Commencement.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Kaylee May Law had just put on her cap and gown. She took a photo for her dad and sent it to him back in California. Her mom was at her side in front of Grand Canyon University Arena.

“She was always very serious as a child,” said Janel Law of her daughter, who was graduating Friday at age 17 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government with an Emphasis in Legal Studies from GCU.

“She didn’t even want to watch 'Sesame Street.' She said, ‘They just mess around.’”

Law was determined to not mess around with colorful frogs and birds. She homeschooled in Walnut, California, until sixth grade before suffering academic “boredom,” attending junior high for a couple years. So Janel Law suggested she begin taking community college courses.

“I thought she would pick something fun. She picked intro to logic.”

“That seemed fun to me,” Kaylee said.

She is the second 17-year-old to earn an undergraduate degree featured by GCU News in the past 18 months; Shannon Kerr got an undergraduate degree in November of 2021. Both studied online, and the pair connected on a phone call earlier this year.

Law said she started earning community college credits at age 13, earned three associates degrees from Mt. San Antonio College, and started by age 16 at GCU with just three semesters and 11 courses left to earn a bachelor’s degree. She doesn’t consider herself a whiz kid, just a first-generation college graduate who put in the work.

“I know I’m not the smartest, but I know I will put in the most effort, and I think that is a big deal with graduating early or with anything,” Law said. “I don’t recommend it for everybody, but there are definitely a lot of people who are capable of it.

“Definitely there were hard times and struggles. I struggled with no friends in classes during COVID or meeting people who are compatible.”

Kaylee Law was a serious student and worked hard to earn her undergraduate degree by age 17.

Law said she was able to make a friend once her online classes began at GCU, where she found the professors adept at online education.

“I’m pretty quiet. I’m pretty reserved for the most part. I suppose I’m rather ambitious,” she said. “I really like critical thinking and logic, but I’m not keen on public speaking.”

The former competitive swimmer had to dig deeper to concentrate on her studies when doctors discovered that her father, William, had a tumor on his spine and needed surgery.

“It went well. He was able to walk. Then there was a blood clot a few weeks after the surgery, and he had to be rushed to the hospital by an ambulance,” she said. “That was a pretty traumatic experience and left him unable to walk and on permanent disability. He is paralyzed from the waist down.”

She began learning from him.

“He’s been a big role model. He’s really strong mentally,” she said. “I’m really happy that he is able to move on and not take it too hard.”

Her father, who had to miss Commencement to stay home with Kaylee’s younger brother, helped her cement her career path.

“It makes you want to help others in situations like that. I’m not saying there was medical malpractice in my dad’s case – the doctors were wonderful – but I do think if I did something with medical injuries or malpractice I would be able to help injured people.”

Be yourself and keep going on your path, even though that might not be the same as everyone else's.

Kaylee Law

That process will begin soon. She is entering the graduate program in political science at the United Nations and Global Policy Studies at Rutgers University because if she entered law school now, she would graduate before she could even take a bar exam at age 21, she said.

“Today is bittersweet,” said Janel Law. “She’s going to be so far away.”

After being recognized for achievements Thursday at the Arizona legislature and before walking into the Arena on Friday alone, Kaylee Law said she had only one regret – not living in the residence halls and having the college on-campus experience.

“There is no looking back. I am on board. I’m hoping to make up for it at Rutgers,” she said.

She had this advice for others attempting to finish college early:

“Be yourself and keep going on your path, even though that might not be the same as everyone else’s.”

After all, some people like logic more than Big Bird.

***

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