Community College Month: Dual Enrollment Success
The second of four Community College Month Features
There are a number of benefits to dual-enrollment programs. Earning college credit while still in high school sounds like a dream for many students. Not only do these programs introduce students to the rigors of college coursework early, but recent studies have shown that students who participate in dual enrollment programs are more likely go on to get a college degree.
Great examples of current dual enrollment success at Eastern Shore Community College are Northampton High School juniors, Jada Smith, and her good friends, twin sisters, Haley and Alexandra Marshall. All three young ladies made the transition from Northampton High School on the strength of seeing the example of their science teacher, Kelsey Gaskins, who followed a similar path. With the direction of Guidance Counselor Chauna Phiri, Career Coach Suzie Henderson, and ESCC Student Services Coordinator, Cheryll Mills, these students will have amassed the credits to enter college as juniors at freshmen age.
The three high school juniors are looking at interests ranging from environmental and animal science, to global studies, optometry, gynecology, and human biology. While tackling the initial classes on their journey to these respective career goals, Haley, Alexandra, and Jada continue to balance their fast track scholastic efforts with extracurricular activities. All three enjoy a mix of sports (field hockey), band, forensics, choral, theater, and more. While they admit it sometimes requires flexibility on both sides, they find full cooperation in accommodating their various commitments. Jada has participated in the honors seminar this year, and together, all three were inducted into the ESCC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa in March.
Friends for many years, being able to share in this unique experience has been a bonus, plus Haley, Alexandra, and Jada, each describe an easy transition from high school sophomore to that of a dual enrollment college student. Calling it “open and welcome”, they seem to appreciate the overall common goal of achievement in the college atmosphere. The girls went on to exclaim how they enjoy the work being more “meaningful” and not quite so much like “busy-work”. It’s quite obvious they intend on making the most of this opportunity. They’re described by their teachers and counselors alike as “very motivated, bright, engaging, and driven”.
Both school systems offer technical and transfer dual enrollment course options. Students can take dual enrollment courses as early as 10th grade if qualifying test scores are received on the Virginia Placement Test, SAT or PSAT and any necessary prerequisites are met. Most common transfer dual enrollment classes are Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College English, College Biology, and College US History. Technical dual enrollment options include classes in HVAC, Welding, Nursing, Electronics, CADD, and Advanced Accounting.
Students at Accomack County Public Schools interested in one of the technical dual enrollment programs must apply for the first part of the program the year before the program would start. Students must be 16 to begin the first part of the program. Technical dual enrollment programs are two years long, but the dual enrollment credit is received during the 2nd year. Dual enrollment classes are calculated into a student’s high school GPA on a weighed scale.
Students and parents can find out more about dual enrollment by talking to the guidance counselor or career coach at their schools. Lori Smith serves as career coach at Nandua and Chincoteague High Schools and Suzie Henderson at Northampton and Arcadia. These coaches empower students to make informed decisions about their career and educational plans and to prepare students for success in post secondary education and training. The earlier the planning starts, the more a student can optimize the dual enrollment options available.
ESCC Dual Enrollment students Haley Marshall, Jada Smith, and Alexandra Marshall