A Head Start: A college graduate at 18, Corinne’s next stop is Cornell

At a time when many of her peers were preparing for their high school graduations, Corinne Roma was already walking across a stage – to receive her college degree.

At 18, Roma was the youngest SUNY Broome graduate during the 2017 Commencement ceremony, where she earned an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts through the Early College program. Now, she heads to Ivy League Cornell University, where she was accepted into their human development program.

“I’m really blessed to have gotten in. Their academic program for psychology is really, really great,” she said.

Roma came to SUNY Broome full-time during her junior year of high school, when she was only 16 years old, through the Early College program. Her credits counted both toward her Associate’s and high school degrees, and she completed the latter during her first year of college.

Her future plans include either going to medical school to become a child or adolescent psychiatrist, or earning a Ph.D. in psychology and becoming a teacher and psychotherapist. Either road would involve years of schooling, she acknowledged.

“I figured, why not get a head start?” she said, explaining her decision to attend college early. “I felt I would have more freedom with the courses I was taking.”

Attending college as a teenager didn’t limit Roma in any way, and she made sure to become involved in campus life and activities. She became a peer tutor, helping fellow students in subjects such as history, psychology and math – and discovered her love of teaching along the way.

A singer and cello player, she also became involved in the Music program, taking several courses and participating in the string ensemble. It proved a good way to make friends.

Sometimes, her fellow Hornets were surprised when they learned her age – but they didn’t treat her any differently, she reflected. She was simply a part of the campus’ diverse tapestry of students, who come from a variety of backgrounds, circumstances and ages. As a 16-year-old, one of her classmates was in her 60s – and it wasn’t in the least surprising.

Overall, Roma loved her college experience and is looking forward to the future.

“SUNY Broome has so many options for people, whether you want to do sports, music or teach,” she said. “I didn’t find my transition from high school to SUNY Broome was difficult because the people were very warm. Everyone was very open. Professors are approachable and fair.”

When Roma hears high school students talking about their options, she’s quick to recommend the Early College program as an opportunity to explore.

“I think every person in high school should know about it,” she said.