Across the country students will be graduating from high school with enough college credits for an associate’s degree or to be sophomores or juniors their first year in actual college.
Dual-enrollment and AP classes have grown in popularity during the last 20 years and enable high school students to graduate with college half-finished but I’m wondering if this is truly a good thing.
I guess the point is that dual-enrollment classes and AP classes can save the family money if the student can knock out core college classes in high school and enables them to immediately start on their higher-level or major classes. However, are kids really ready to do that? Should they have to pick their majors before they even pick their dorms? Do these classes eliminate some of the easier classes that allow students to acclimate to college life and being responsible for themselves?
Does it shorten their college experience too much where they aren’t ready to decide what they want to do with their lives and be in the real world?
Take for example a family friend on the East coast who graduated valedictorian of her high school class and entered college as a second-semester sophomore. She’s on a full ride so it’s not really costing her family anything for her to go to college but since she entered as a sophomore she is expected to finish in less than three years.
So far she’s not enjoying her “major” classes and isn’t enjoying her college experience because she’s being rushed through. Plus she’s just exhausted from working so hard in high school.
The Arizona Republic did a big take out on this issue.
” ‘But an increasing number of high-school students are earning community-college credits. More than 16,400 students were enrolled in Maricopa County community-college classes while in high school in the 2010-11 school year, up from more than 14,300 five years ago. Figures for the 2011-12 school year were not available. ‘ ”
” ‘It’s actually part of a national trend that’s been building the last 10 years,’ said Linda Lujan, president of Chandler-Gilbert Community College.”
“Students save time and thousands of dollars by enrolling concurrently in community college while in high school, Lujan said.”
” ‘There is no magic about a chronological age … and many students are cognitively ready to take college courses,’ she added.”
“Students like Landon saved more than $18,000 in college tuition for the first two years by earning an associate’s degree while in high school.”
Our middle school is pushing high school classes – for math and Spanish – and our high school is pushing dual-enrollment classes. But to what end?
When I graduated from high school in 1990 AP classes were the big thing in Gwinnett County. Kids would leave school with two, three or four college classes under their belts. It would save their parents some money on those core classes and they could move on to more interesting classes. But it wasn’t like you were starting college half-way through it.
I’m just wondering if too much emphasis is being put on these classes and too much pressure is being put on the kids to “get ahead.”
What have your experiences been with dual-enrollment and AP classes? How many classes are good to knock out and how many push the student too far?