(Original post by shady lane)
My mom is a pediatrician and actually highly recommends against skipping grades due to physical and psychological development reasons. I'm glad you did well in school but she would have suggested you take a year off before college. I actually agree with her (and she has the MD to back her up!) so I think very young students should take time off--travel, work, do private language instruction, music lessons, whatever.
I was dying of boredom in school up until 6th grade (which is why I skipped 5th in the US - I'd sped through the curriculum and I was pretty much wasting my time and being an annoying little smartypants in class :P), and Russian high schools only run up through 11th grade, so it's perfectly normal for most people over here to graduate before they're 18. My age didn't affect me socially at all - no one adheres to the "official" age limit here and if you suddenly get carded, no one will ever ask for anything beyond a student ID that doesn't even have your birth date on it, so I was perfectly able to participate in every social event they had. Plus, I stayed in St. Petersburg for uni (as do most people in big cities), so I didn't have to worry about dorms/flats/the whole campus experience.
As for the gap year(s) - that wasn't an option in my particular case, either. I'm a Russian citizen with a US green card (long story short, my mom went a little crazy and was against me applying for citizenship back then, and I'd be wasting time if I applied now), and both of my parents live in the States. In order for me to go anywhere besides the US, Canada and Mexico, I would've had to get a visa, which would've required parental consent forms from both parents for the consulates that, according to Russian law, have to be signed and stamped by a legal authority based in Russia. My father hasn't been to Russia since 1991, so there's no way he would've been able to get those proper forms, so I couldn't even get a visa anywhere until I turned 18. I couldn't work here, either, and my job options back in Kansas would've involved either being a hostess at Red Lobster or flipping burgers at McDonald's. In Topeka, KS. That's hardly the most exciting thing a high school graduate wants to do. I've always sucked at music and language classes would've been useless outside of the actual country the language originated in, which, once again, I couldn't get to because of the whole visa situation. In short, there was nothing else for me to do, and I'm certainly happy I went straight into uni, though the uni itself leaves MUCH to be desired. That's probably the only drawback, really - Mother insisted on me attending a Russian university, and I as a 15-year-old couldn't exactly go against that. I'm really upset I wasn't able to persuade her back then, though, but what's done is done and there's nothing I can do about it now.
Basically, while I'm aware that a lot of people encounter problems as younger students at uni, all of those problems have thankfully passed me by. Even though I will have fully completed a 5-year BA before I can legally purchase booze in the States, once I get to grad school the problem will be solved