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Waubonsee Voices: Waubonsee offers high school students ways to get ahead

Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 9:22 p.m. CDT

Waubonsee seeks to meet the educational needs of district residents of all ages. In 2013, the college created its Center for High School Partnerships to better meet the needs of local high school districts and their students. Two of the center’s biggest programs are the High School Summer Program and the Dual Credit Program, which allow students to earn high school and/or college credit.  

The High School Summer Program offers the opportunity for area students to earn high school credit at an accelerated pace.

Some are looking to recover credit from a failed class, while others are gaining extra credits to free up their fall/spring schedules or even graduate early.

Last summer, more than 1,700 students participated and earned credit in such areas as algebra, geometry, American government, U.S. history, economics, English, American literature, speech, world geography and physical education. 

During the regular academic year, the Center for High School Partnerships is busy managing the college’s Dual Credit Program. Dual credit describes any instance where an academically qualified high school student enrolls in a college-level course and – upon successful course completion – earns both high school and college credit.

Dual credit is gaining popularity both locally and nationally, and for good reason. It can help ease students’ transition from high school to college-level work, while also providing a leg up when it comes to college admissions decisions, scholarship applications, etc.

These courses also are a great way to keep high school juniors and seniors challenged and engaged in the learning process.

Last year, Waubonsee had more than 3,000 dual credit enrollments from students at our 11 area partner high schools: East and West Aurora, Batavia, Oswego and Oswego East, Somonauk, Geneva, the Fox Valley Career Center, Indian Valley Career Center, Kaneland and Rosary.

All dual credit courses are delivered through one of two models. In the first model, the class is taught at the high school by a high school teacher who is qualified and approved as an adjunct instructor by Waubonsee. In this situation, students only pay a service fee of $8 a credit hour. In the second model, the class is taught at the high school or at a Waubonsee campus by a Waubonsee instructor, with students paying full college tuition and fees. 

Many dual credit offerings are general education classes designed to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

Some classes give students the chance to explore and prepare for a particular career area, such as fire science, criminal justice, business or health care. 

In the future, the Center for High School Partnerships hopes to expand dual credit offerings at partner high schools and develop new programs to meet the needs and demands of our partner high schools and students. 

To learn about Waubonsee’s programs for high school students, visit www.waubonsee.edu/highschool or call the Center for High School Partnerships at 630-466-5720.

• Jeff Harlan is high school partnerships manager at Waubonsee Community College. The “Waubonsee Voices” column runs the third Wednesday of each month in the Kane County Chronicle. Comments and questions can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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