Friday, September 23, 2011

Dual Enrollment Makes College More Accessible

Dual enrollment opportunities are making higher education more accessible for many high school students who might otherwise feel that going to college is outside the realm of possibility. Recently, Community College Times featured an Oregon school district that is creating new higher ed opportunities for high school students. For several years, the public schools in Portland have had a partnership with Portland Community College-Cascade Campus known as Middle College. High school students in the district have been able to enroll in Middle College courses through an opt-in program and earn up to 45 college credits by the time they graduate high school.

This year, access to Middle College expanded further, and instead of being an opt-in program, all incoming freshmen at one high school will be enrolled in what is now being called Jefferson High School-Middle College for Advanced Studies. The University of Oregon is also offering scholarships to Middle College students who complete at least one year of college credit.

Middle College in Portland has made a higher degree more attainable to many students who might otherwise not have considered college at all.

Many high schools who use TestOut’s LabSim training in their IT program have also made college more accessible to students who weren’t planning on it. Dennis DeBroeck, for example—an IT teacher at Walla Walla High School, in Walla Walla, Washington—helps his students earn up to 60 college credits at Walla Walla Community College for their work in LabSim and in his classes. Requirements for the credits include earning an A or B in the class, completing a list of competencies, completing a portfolio of the work they’ve done, and putting together a resume and cover letter. In an area where more than 70% of students never complete college, the opportunity to gain college credit while in high school is a huge help to students.

High school instructors, do the students in your IT program earn college credit in your classes? How has LabSim training helped students continue their education after high school?

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