In the event of a teenager graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) next week, at the tender age of 15, Jack Rico will be the youngest graduate in the school’s history.
Rico of Huntington Beach will receive his fifth degree, a bachelor’s degree with honors in history, and a 3.78 grade-point average. He enrolled at UNLV on a full-ride scholarship when he was only 13 years old after graduating from Fullerton College in California.
The young scholar has earned four college degrees from Fullerton College, making him the youngest graduate from that institution. His four associate’s degrees are history, social sciences, arts, human expression, and social behavior. He graduated in the spring of 2020, maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
“It was kind of unbelievable. At that point, when my mom told me, I was like, ‘You’re joking. This is a funny joke,’ but no, this was actually happening. And when we first came here, I automatically fell in love with the campus and the people here,” Rico said.
The 15-year-old discussed how children should be allowed to make decisions about the environment in which they learn.
“No one child is the same; some kids thrive in a public school setting: others thrive in a homeschool setting,” Jack said. “And I feel like it should be the kid’s choice. They should look into what is best for them and their education.”
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Rico’s mother, Ru Andrade, an athletic adviser at Fullerton College, considered homeschooling after Rico struggled with the Common Core State Standards, despite having a high IQ score.
“That took us looking into homeschooling,” Andrade shared. “By 11 years old, he was smarter than me.” He started taking classes at Fullerton College that same year, beginning with one class and increasing to a full course load.”
Rico plans to pursue a master’s degree after graduation.
“I want to get my master’s, but I don’t know what I want to get it in,” he said. “I don’t plan on getting it in history, so I want to audit some courses. I kind of want to discover some of my other interests and stuff and see what I want to do with my master’s.”