Being a September baby myself—I can’t help but have a “told you so” mentality to the news that September babies are more successful. When you analyze the science behind it, this actually makes a lot of sense.
OK, all you non-September babies, hear me out.
In most states, the cut-off date for starting school is Sept. 1, meaning that those born in September are often the oldest and therefore most developed in their graduating class.
According to research from the University of Toronto, Northwestern University and the University of Florida published this month by the Bureau of Economic Research, the age at which a child starts school is a good indicator of how well they’ll do—not just in kindergarten—but throughout their academic career. And being born in September versus August makes a big difference.
For example, the Institute for Fiscal Studies in the UK found that those born between September and November are 25 percent more likely to go to Oxford or Cambridge than a child born in August. From this, the researchers concluded that the age at which a child starts school affects them throughout grade school and on into college, too.
Based on their study, the Institute for Fiscal Studies goes so far as to suggest “age-adjusted national achievement test scores,” which means the pass rates for exams would be set lower for those born in August and conversely raised for those born in September.
Seems pretty fair, honestly.
According to the newer study from the University of Toronto, Northwestern University and the University of Florida, this age difference can affect not just academics, but behavior as well.
“Being an older age at school entry increases children’s college attainment and reduces the likelihood of being incarcerated for juvenile crime,” the study concludes.
However, if your baby wasn’t born in September, there’s still plenty you can do to help ensure their success. (And as always, there are also exceptions to this rule.) If you notice your child needing a little extra help you can always consider getting a tutor, holding them back a year (a.k.a “red shirting” them) or talking with their school about ways to continue the classroom learning at home.
There’s no “one size fits all” method for a child’s learning, so figure out what works best for your child when the time comes—regardless of the month they were born.