Stop reverse age discrimination in admissions for graduate studies
  • Petitioned U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

This petition was delivered to:

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Stop reverse age discrimination in admissions for graduate studies

    1. Petition by

      K C

      Urbana, IL

Reverse age discrimination at the university level is an issue that must be taken seriously, and has affected many advanced students such as myself. Currently, there are no clear laws that prohibit universities from discriminating against younger students based on their age, because the scope of "age discrimination" is understood as protection directed towards older individuals.

Unfortunately, this issue is one that does not have a strong backing, as the number of young students entering universities is quite low.

The educational system is run by the antiquated mentality that believes in maintaining the status quo, at the expense of holding back bright students in order to do so. Educational institutions resist the idea of accelerating students with the unfounded excuse that it may cause possible "social trauma" and "psychological harm" that such an acceleration may cause.

In 2009, when I was 14 years old, I became the youngest student to ever be admitted to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). However, this was only made possible because of hard work done by our current State Senator, who worked with me to change legislation in order to lower the age requirement for admittance to UIUC from 17 years of age, which had previously been used to prevent my otherwise qualified admittance.

In 2011, At 17 years old, I became the youngest student to have ever graduated from UIUC, and have received my Associates Degree (GPA 4.0) and my Bachelor's degree (GPA 3.7) in Psychology. However, I also became the youngest student to have been discriminated by the University based on my age, when the Psychology Department graduate committee denied me admittance to the program, stating that I was not "old" or "experienced" enough to continue my education at the University. Less qualified students, with lower GPA and GRE scores than myself, were admitted to the program because, as one committee member informed me, “age matters when applying to graduate school”, and suggested that I should go "backpacking through Europe for a year" before re-applying to the program. The director of admissions also informed me that she agrees with the statement that "age does matter" while applying to a PhD program at UIUC.

I need your help to try and enlarge the scope of the “reverse age discrimination” laws that would ban practices of this kind by institutions of higher learning, such as UIUC. This is needed in order to protect young students, like me, from having their civil rights violated in this manner.
Please help by signing a petition that would stop universities from discriminatory practices against students applying into their graduate programs due to their young age.


Kelsey Caetano-Anolles

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Darren Gentzler CHAMPAIGN, IL
      • over 2 years ago

      This is an amazing woman, I do not see how and why anyone would discriminate. I am sure any other school would snag up such a bright person.

      • almost 3 years ago
    • Jenna Weidenbenner PAXTON, IL
      • almost 3 years ago

      To a lesser extent, I experienced reverse age discrimination when I was Kelsey's age and graduated college ahead of my same-age peers. I can empathize with her situation, especially since I know her to be fully capable of holding her own amidst a group of older peers. She probably has more life experience and insight than the majority of her same-age peers who are matriculating into graduate programs and finding the adjustment to independent research to be a struggle.

    • Jung Hyun Lee DECATUR, GA
      • almost 3 years ago

      I went to college 2 years early. No one outside the program accepts the fact that I'm a college junior now, and it's so frustrating cause I've worked my butt off to be where I am now, and no one even gives me credit for the things I have done.

    • Patricia Chinoy NEWTOWN, PA
      • about 3 years ago

      This is not only an issue for college students but elementary and secondary students as well. We have been up against this issue in educating our 13 y.o. son who is nearing the end of high school classes and needs more opportunities than the public school can provide.


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