19-Year-Old to Attend Northwestern Law School
Posted Aug 10, 2009 10:58 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: A 19-year-old woman who will be attending Northwestern Law School this year is used to the ribbing about being like Doogie Howser.
Nineteen-year-old Kate McLaughlin skipped six grades as a child and graduated from the University of California San Diego at the age of 17, the Orange County Register reports. For the past year, she has tutored students who are often older than she is and has worked as a teacher at the test preparation company Kaplan. She scored a 174 out of 180 on the Law School Admission Test.
"It's funny. When I tell people how old I am, they always make the same comment: 'Like Doogie Howser?' 'Yes, like Doogie Howser,' " she told the Register.
Despite her ability to master difficult subjects with ease, McLaughlin has some misgivings. "I'm worried I'll hate law school because it will take up too much of my time on things I'm not interested in," McLaughlin told the newspaper.
One of her earliest interests was marine life, according to the story. She was able to identify about 50 different species of whales and dolphins before she began reading—at the age of 3. Now one of her loves is science fiction writing. She also has a blog called Evilprodigy.com. “Writing and reading are my passions,” she said.
So why is McLaughlin going to law school? She told the Orange County Register she hopes the degree will help her lobby for the social causes she promotes, such as equal rights for gays and lesbians, international human rights, and the battle against racism. "I'm an idealist; I want to change the world," she said. "I bleed blue; I'm a Democrat.”
The Orange County Register followed up with McLaughlin after her story resulted in an onslaught of reader comments on this blog and others debating whether she was ready for law school.
The Register caught McLaughlin on Wednesday as she was readying for her move to Chicago. McLaughlin said she didn’t have the time or inclination to respond to the comments.
"I don't consider my academic situation to be a defining point of my life, and discussing the particulars of my personal life with complete strangers is not something I especially want to do," she told the newspaper.
Updated on Aug. 13 to add McLaughlin's comments from the follow-up story.