Say What? – Taylor Swift On Her Senior Year

We all know that Taylor Swift has been home schooled while she has been working hard on her country music career. Unfortunately, it seems that she has not been taking her studies too seriously. Apparently, she worked so hard during her junior year that she only had to fulfill two class requirements during her senior year in order to graduate this upcoming June. She told GAC:

“I chose public speaking and musical performance…So I kind of coasted my senior year, as seniors usually do. Musical performance: I was on tour with Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley, so that occurred every night — me singing in front of people happened a lot this year. And public speaking: Every single time I did a radio interview, every single time I got on stage and said, ‘How we doin’, Houston?’ — you know, that’s public speaking. So, senior year’s been pretty good.”

As an educator, I can’t help but feel a bit uneasy about Swift’s dismissive comments regarding her high school education. Moreover, since Swift is really only a kid, it’s even more disturbing that her parents failed to insist that their daughter’s education be more of a priority.


  1. For 99.9% of the population, education should be a priority. For the other 0.01%, which includes Taylor Swift, education is foolish. Taylor is clearly a smart woman who has the skills needed to succeed at an extremely high level. She’s the hottest thing going right now and you never know how long that’s going to last. It would be insane to sacrifice millions of dollars in earnings to complete precalculus.

    And it seems that Taylor does place some value on her education. I’ve heard from a few reliable people that Taylor applied and was implicitly admitted to Vanderbilt University and perhaps a few other colleges. Of course, I don’t expect her to enroll.

  2. I agree that she seems to be taking her last year pretty dismissively, but you’re forgetting she worked so hard in her junior year. so in my opinion she was smart. She got it all done as fast as she could, so she could slow down in her final year.

    And she’ll still have her high school diploma, so lets say if for some reason her musical career fizzles out soon, then she still has her high school done.

  3. My thought reading this was of all the talented artists who were swindled because they didn’t have the business background they needed. Regardless of whether she gets further formal education, I hope she’s educating herself about the mechanics of the music business and learning how to read the fine print.

  4. I agree that it’s foolish for her to be thinking about college at this time…but honorably finishing high school? I just think that she was given special treatment because she’s a star. I really doubt that most schools would allow someone to essentially skip her senior year of high school and still graduate with the rest of her class. I’m fine with her concerts and interviews counting toward class credits, but no academic requirements at all? I guess my underlying problem is the lack of importance that is being placed on education in this country these days. I just think Swift is a famous example of it right now.

    By the way, I think Taylor is a very intelligent young woman too. I would have just preferred that she finished high school the right way.

    I hate to put Taylor and Carrie Underwood in the same sentence (because I know the fire storm it can cause), but Carrie was able to maintain an explosive career and still finish her college degree. So, I think Taylor could have fit in a more serious high school curriculum into her schedule as well, especially since she has said that she has no problem serving as a role model for teens.

  5. I can live with (though classes tend to have readings and assignment, not be built around what you are already doing) the musical performance argument, most people an easy classes their senior year.

    It would be very hard to argue that any reasonable public-speaking curriculum (say with some structure, perhaps with the purpose to inform) is going to be fulfilled with ‘How we doin’, Houston?’ (do you still loose points in public speaking for leaving off the G).

    Hopefully there was more to it than what she mentioned, smart or not, there has to be some academics to graduate high school.

  6. Not to pick on Taylor’s example of public speaking a little more, but why would she say “How we Doin’? Shouldn’t “we” be “you”? I’m pretty sure only she can answer how she’s doing.

    I agree with Bill, however, that I hope there’s just more to the curriculum than she was saying. Perhaps I read it too literally and she was just being funny?

  7. taylor is a very bright young woman
    The purpose of education is to prepare a person for their career
    Taylor’s career is music and she’s doing it brilliantly

  8. To me, a college education is optional, but a high school education is supposed to be a requirement. If parents are going to choose to say that they’re home schooling their child, I think they need to be sure that they do it correctly. Otherwise, it just perpetuates the stigma of home schooling that already exists. If they really didn’t have the intention of home schooling her, they could have gotten her a tutor and he/she could have gone on the road with her. I’m sure her record label would have even agreed to pay for one.

  9. Taylor appears to be a very bright young woman who is by all accounts doing brilliantly.

    My issue is more a feeling that parents need to be careful, because for every Taylor that makes it there are dozens of extremely talented young artists that nearly make it (but don’t) and perhaps hundreds or thousands who try to make it but don’t come close. High School is an overview that helps make you more rounded and prepares you for your future (though not many jobs these days) whatever it may be. I don’t think parents can assume a huge success or even that a successful child will always be successful.

    Taylor will be fine. Not every child ends up being Taylor.

  10. About Vanderbilt… Aren’t most initial college applications based upon freshman through junior years of high school, due to when students must apply?

  11. I dunno that forced education should even be required. It should definitely be available to anyone and everyone, but should every person be required by law to go to school until they’re 18?

    That being said, I believe my high school was based on a credit type system and anyone could have done what Taylor is doing if they had taken care of their coursework through their Junior year. Graduating with honors required additional course work and extracurricular activities, though, which helps out with college and all, but Seniors had the option to slack off if they were so inclined.

  12. She is such a great role model for young girls, NOT. I mean for a girl who is always touting her role model status and how great she is for young girls this isn’t the best example to me and seems just a glimpse as to what we will be seeing from Taylor in the Future, I mean first the Blender cover then the Maxum thing and now this, I see this girl hitting the bricks in the future.

  13. I also think you are really trying to defend Taylor if you think she even thought about applying to Vanderbilt, that to me sounds like a very convenient white lie on your part just to defend darling Taylor. That girl didn’t even care about High School, I doubt she applied to College.

  14. Ah, I’m willing to concede that I’m not going to win this debate and I’m okay with it.:)

    To make it clear, I’m not gunning for Taylor. If anything, I think it’s an indictment on her parents and not her, since she’s a typical kid who is happy to get away with doing as little course work as possible. Furthermore, while Taylor’s music isn’t exactly what I’d choose to listen to every day, I’m pulling for her. She seems like a sweet kid with a lot of songwriting potential. I already enjoy her melodies and hope to enjoy her lyrics more as she matures.

  15. Sugar, thanks for commenting.

    I, however, don’t think it’s productive to accuse someone of lying. Knowing Matt’s writing from the 9513, there is absolutely no reason to believe that he’d have a motive to tell “a white lie” in defense of Taylor Swift.

  16. Naturally it’s tough to tell just how bright T. Swift: Conqueror of Worlds, is or isn’t.

    but something tells me that going through life with an 11th grade education isn’t going to be the best thing for her.

    which, by extension, means that it wont be the best thing for us, because I’m pretty sure that we’re going to have to listen to her songs, smart or otherwise, for a long while yet.

  17. In one of Taylor’s MySpace blogs after the ACM awards show Taylor told how she had an “epiphone” of the hoody/tear away clothes/singing in the rain routine she performed on the show. Now Epiphone is a fine brand of musical instruments (primarily guitars) but what Taylor really meant to say was that she had an epiphany! I think this boo boo may support your contention that Taylor should take her education a bit more seriously (or maybe not)….

    A similar situation happened with Australian artist Catherine Britt who was signed to the RCA Nashville label back around 2002. Catherine left high school down under to move to Nashville when she was 17 and did not pursue any further formal education while here. Now in her blogs Catherine admits that her spelling and punctuation are not all they should be……….

  18. imagine this for a minute: taylor swift is going to tell “the world” that it’ll take a while before she’ll release another album. reason: “i’m going to college because i feel it’ll provide a fantastic long-term basis for my future as a singer/songwriter/artist/entertainer.”

    i may be wrong, but i think the loss of career-momentum would easily be compensated by the amount of expectations building up in the process.

    possible outcomes: financially, quite likely the biggest impact since new releases from garth brooks. intellectually, a songwriter with a wider horizon and understanding of today’s issues. socially, could anyone think of a better example/role-model for people of that age-group?

    …..i know: “dream on!”

  19. Rumors are rumors, but there’s a big one going around at Belmont that Taylor applied and was admitted there, too. I really hope it’s not true (imagine the tour groups if she ended up going!), but I do second Kevin’s hope that she’s learning the business end of things adequately.

    On the public speaking front, you can’t get much more relevant experience than press interviews, so I have no quibble with that. But I am definitely surprised her parents didn’t push for more math or english. That stuff’s important!

    But on the other hand, we’d be hard-pressed to count all of the notable country singers and songwriters, many of whom are quite well-respected, who never completed college or even high school. I guess we’ll see.

  20. Rick, I don’t know what high school focuses on “spelling and punctuation” in someone’s senior year. Almost all of the formal training on things like that is basically done and over with by the time freshman year’s over. At least that’s how it was for me in high school.

  21. I mean she probally has enough money to never worry about it but look at the finacial situation of a woman with a bachelors in music buisness such as Trisha Yearwood, and compare her to someone without that background such as Dottie West…….that education is a good thing to have.

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