19-Year-Old Set To Make History As Youngest African American Law School Graduate


May 3, 2022

She started law school at the age of 16!

A 19-year-old is set to become the youngest Southern Methodist University (SMU) Law graduate in the school’s nearly 100-year-history, SMU.edu reports.

Haley Taylor Schlitz was in the 5th grade when her parents realized traditional schooling wasn’t going to work for her. She struggled for recognition as a gifted student and her parents ultimately decided that homeschooling was the better option for her, giving her more time to learn at her own pace while pursuing the things she wanted to accomplish. 


“Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation’s gifted and talented programs. Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color,” said Taylor Schlitz. 

At the age of 13, she was able to graduate from high school, going on to earn an undergraduate degree from Texas Woman’s University. At just 16-years-old, Taylor Schlitz was accepted into nine different law schools, making the choice to enroll at SMU’s Dedman School of Law. Since then, she has been extremely engaged around community and public policy discourse, sharing her thoughts in communities on Facebook and YouTube, serving as a mentor in the Young Scholar Program (YSP) which focuses on developing leadership skills in young Black girls, and working as a regular opinion columnist for sites like Blavity, The Grio, and Teen Vogue. 

In June 2020 at the age of 17, Taylor Schlitz made history when she was elected to serve as one of the youngest delegates ever at the Democratic National Convention. She and her mother Dr. Myiesha Taylor have also published a book entitled The Homeschool Alternative, which explores Taylor Schlitz story and their experiences as a homeschooling family, encouraging others to get into the “homeschool mindset.”


Now the teen is marking another milestone as she prepares to become the youngest law school graduate ever in SMU Dedman’s nearly 100-year-history, the now 19-year-old set to graduate this May 13th. She will also be the youngest African American to graduate from law school. During her time in law school, Taylor Schlitz has made quite a name for herself, emerging as a thought leader on issues impacting students of color navigating talented and gifted programs in public schools across America. It is her hope to continue that work after graduation in the area of education policy issues. 

“I really want to help students realize their potential even if they can’t home-school. I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there,” she explained. 

Congratulations, Haley! We can’t wait to see what’s next!


Photo Courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

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