Taking College Classes in High School: A Student’s Perspective
Have you ever seen a high school college student on campus? We may not be easily recognized as we seem to blend into the student body rather nicely, but we are there, and there seem to be more of us all the time.
Spring 2012 is my 5th semester at Front Range Community College in Longmont. This is my senior year of high school, but I’m taking only college classes. When I graduate in May, I will have earned 37 college credits. The program that I am participating in is called Concurrent Enrollment, and it allows high school students (9th through 12th graders) to dually enroll in high school and college. College classes count as high school credit and college credit, and students don’t have to pass any hard AP tests.
College Classes in High School
Many high schools are now offering college classes (usually a college professor will come and teach at the high school). I, however, have been home schooled my entire life. Yes, friends, those of us that are home schooled do socialize, and although we may be slightly “sheltered” it’s for a reason. I can honestly say that playing on a high school soccer team for three years dutifully educated me in the way of sexual terms and cuss words. I found it rather amazing (actually, I still do) how many times certain four letter words could make it into a single sentence from some of my teammates.
College Now Program
But Concurrent Enrollment classes are not just for home schooled students. Most students who participate in the College Now program at FRCC attend public high schools. Depending on where you go to school, you may be able to take college courses at your high school or at the nearest FRCC location.
Fun, Challenging Courses
The first college class I took was Biology 1 for the science major. To date, this has been my favorite class. I had recently turned 16, and was slightly intimidated to say the least, but I was excited to find two other high schoolers in the class. Six out of the 10 classes I have taken have had other high school students (sometimes that was just my brother, but he still counts). Biology 1 was fun, but it was also very challenging. I learned so much from that class: how cells function and use or make energy, how cells divide, genetics, so many neat things about DNA, etc. I also had many great classmates in Biology 1, and they were great support.
Professors are Human too
I would say my experiences are probably quite similar to most students, but I definitely have had some crazy things happen when receiving tests back. For example, a professor simply counted the points on my test wrong. I noticed, and he changed the grade, giving me an A rather than a B. The lesson: Always Look Over Your Tests. Professors are human too, you know.
Unique Relationships with College Professors
From my own experiences, and from having talked with friends who are also College Now students, I know that a lot of us stay after class. Admittedly, some of us may be stuck doing this at times if we don’t have a car or driver’s license. But it does gives us a chance to ask questions or simply just chat for a little while. I can tell you that it’s really neat to be walking down the hall and see a professor from a previous semester who still remembers your name and says hello.
Getting a Head Start
I love being able to attend Front Range Community College. It’s a challenge, and helps me push myself more than I might otherwise. I’m excited to have this head start. The sooner I can get through college and on to changing the world, the better!
If you are a high school student, a parent of a high schooler, or someone influential in a high schooler’s life, I greatly encourage you to look into Concurrent Enrollment. Most school districts will even pay for up to two gtPathways classes!
Most people think it’s great that I can take college classes, but I want to know if you have any concerns about high schoolers doing this. If you do, please comment below! (and if you don’t, well, you can comment anyway!)