[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hroughout my high school years, I went through many different changes – some normal and some pretty uncommon. By the end of my sophomore year, I knew I was ready to get out of the “high school environment” and spread my little wings. I was in dire need of a classroom setting that would not only challenge me, but also provide me with the opportunity to meet and mingle with new classmates, peers and teachers.
I chose to take part in what my school called “Post-Secondary Enrollment Option.” In essence, this meant that I could attend my local community college part-time during my junior and senior years, or I could enroll full-time for my entire senior year. I chose to enroll for my entire senior year, as I had completed my requirements for graduation very early on.
My decision to take part in this program benefited me in more ways than I have time here to explain, and allowed me to begin working toward a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
I was positively affected by this experience, both personally and academically, and feel that all high school students should explore, know and understand their school’s options when it comes to taking college courses in high school (not AP).
Here are five reasons why you should take advantage of any post-secondary options available at your school:
1. You’ll be able to escape the doom of spending an entire four, dreadful years in high school.
Let’s face it, some of us are meant to be in high school forever and others need to get out ASAP. I was, without a doubt, a part of the latter grouping. If you’re beginning to feel like you and your peers simply are not connecting and/or your classes are failing to push you to your full capabilities, it might be best for you to consider attending college early.
This option really should be contemplated in its entirety, though, as fast-forwarding into your college years can be both academically and mentally challenging, and for some it may serve to be too challenging.
2. You’ll get real, live experience to use toward your next couple years at a university.
Spending my senior year in college classes while still doing three sports at the high school broke me a few times – like literally created tears, people. It was definitely a difficult transition; I went from barely doing any work for A’s and B’s in high school to doing twice as much work for each class in college. Although I did struggle, this served as a learning experience that I was able to use during my first “real” year in college at Ohio University.
While I still experienced many other factors that influenced my focus on classes during my first year (can anyone say party school?), I still feel that I walked into my first classes at OHIO with much less fear and significantly more preparation than my fellow freshmen classmates. College classes during high school prepared me and directed me toward a quicker route to success than most of the freshmen I was surrounded with.
3. You’ll knock out a lot of your prerequisites, and without much consequence.
As long as you check to see if the classes you plan on taking will transfer on a website like https://www.transferology.com, and you get a C in the class (some accept D’s), then your credits will more than likely transfer to your new university. This means you could potentially transfer around 30 credits to your new university, knock out your first year of prerequisites and not even affect your grade point average at the new university – you’ll be starting out with a fresh 4.0.
Plus, this also gives you the chance to take a few classes in your major to explore your chosen degree and career path and really decide whether or not this is something you truly want to pursue.
4. You just, quite possibly, may be able to get TWO majors (and maybe even more).
Warning: I have taken a few classes over the summer.
With that being said, I still credit post-secondary for pushing me onto a pretty awesome educational path that consists of: one associate degree, two bachelor’s degrees, two minors and one certificate. ALL IN ONLY FOUR PAID YEARS, FOLKS. Obviously, in the end, this will have taken a total of a little over five years in college to obtain, but I only paid for a little over four years worth and I have learned so, SO much.
5. It’s FREE.
Do I really need to say much else? Whether you choose to use this year as a year to explore your options, as a year toward your undergraduate degree so that you can graduate in three years opposed to four, or toward one of your undergraduate degrees so that you can graduate with two degrees in four years, it’s FREE nonetheless. No matter what your decision is in the end, or what the outcome is of taking these classes, they were still free (so basically I’m telling you that you have absolutely nothing to lose).
So why not just take AP classes, McKenzie?
Well I have a few simple answers to this question. First, you can take AP classes all throughout your years in high school if you are on the right track. Second, you have to take a test in order for this AP class to possibly count in college. Third, you have to get a certain point-score on this test in order for the class to possibly count in college. Fourth, YOU HAVE TO PAY to take the test to POSSIBLY get the grade that the school may POSSIBLY accept, or not accept. If you’re still having a difficult time deciding between AP and post-secondary classes, please resort back to #3.
So, go and do it, people. Whether you’re a parent, someone with a younger sibling, or a high school student, I encourage you to explore any post-secondary options that may be available at your high school so you too can be on a fun little path to success.