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Online sociology student to graduate at age 14

Sociology major to be Sanford School’s youngest-ever graduating student


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April 24, 2023

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.

By age 14, most students are in the ninth grade — learning algebra, writing book reports and trying to navigate high school life. 

Gavin Munson, however, isn’t like most students. This semester, he’s set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology at age 14. He will be the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics’ youngest graduate to date and one of the youngest ASU Online students to graduate.

Munson began his higher education journey at age 10 through an accelerated program from Los Angeles Mission College. The program allowed Munson to earn dual enrollment credit toward an associate’s degree while continuing his regular studies. 

His first course in the program was a memorable one, he says. Sitting in the front row, he felt the stares from curious peers wondering what such a young student was doing in a college-level class.

“It did not bother me, but I did not understand why I was getting so much attention, especially when called to the whiteboard to solve problems in front of the class,” Munson says.

What made that class especially memorable, though, was the advice the teacher gave to the class: “He told the class that if you set your bar high, you will aim high; if your bar is low, you will only do the minimum. That phrase has always stuck with me since,” Munson says.

A high achiever, Munson indeed continued on with that advice in mind. In June 2021, at age 12, he completed high school at the top of his class and with two years of college credits under his belt. One of his dual enrollment credits was a life-changing sociology class taught by a passionate and engaging teacher, which sparked his interest in sociology as a college major.

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Gavin Munson

After graduating from high school and getting his associate’s degree magna cum laude, Munson transferred straight to Arizona State University's sociology program as a junior, opting for ASU Online due to the flexibility of remote learning. 

Throughout his courses at ASU, Munson, who has always been fascinated by social behavior, has enjoyed learning about society, its development and how people function within it. He has also taken advantage of the flexibility in electives, with his favorite class being PSY 335: Positive Psychology, a class about handling stress effectively and keeping a positive outlook to achieve personal success. 

In fact, his advice to other students is the advice he took away from that class: “You can achieve whatever you put your mind to,” he says. “If you put in the work, you will succeed, but you must try and keep a positive mindset. If you say you cannot succeed, you will not, but once you start saying ‘I can and I will,’ that is when you will see a change.”

As graduation approaches, Munson is looking forward to figuring out his next move in academics. But first, he is taking a well-deserved gap year to travel, experience other cultures and enjoy the fruits of his successes.

 

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