High school students earn college credit
For the past two years, Kapaa High School seniors, Tatum Harper and Taeani Largusa, have taken several synchronous online courses with Chaminade University professors, earning college credit while simultaneously fulfilling their high school requirements. The hours of studying and discipline paid off. Learning she just got into Columbia University, Harper was ecstatic.
“It’s my dream school,” said Harper, during Chaminade’s inaugural Early College Summit, which was attended by a mix of 70 students from Kapaa High School, Sacred Hearts Academy and Saint Louis. “Participating in this program has really prepared me for college.”
Largusa echoed the same sentiment, adding that she expects to hear from Syracuse University soon. “When I took the virtual campus tour I fell in love with it,” says the first generation, soon- to-be-college student. “This program has given me confidence in knowing that I can handle the demand of college courses.”
Early college programs can provide several benefits, including the opportunity for students to accelerate their education, which can lead to the completion of college degrees at an earlier age. There’s also the perk of cost savings, reducing tuition costs for future higher education.
Sacred Hearts Academy counselors Ashley Luke and Sharlene Chock both agreed that Chaminade’s early college program will help students become familiar with the expectations and rigor of college-level coursework, easing their transition to full-time college later on.
“Some struggled initially with the transition because of the extra studies involved in taking college-level courses,” said Luke, who counsels 10th and 11th graders. “Even our top students were stretched because they didn’t understand process versus perfection, which they’re used to achieving in high school.”
With this first cohort of 17 Lancers, Chock believes the college exposure will help them navigate the waters of post-secondary education. “They have already been individually challenged,” said the 12th grade counselor. “I think the experience shows them that college is attainable.”
Saint Louis School students Landon Dimaya, Cash Acorda and Kevin Simmons will begin their college courses next semester. The three Crusaders cited different reasons for participating in the program. Dimaya is a fraternal twin whose sister Lindsey is already a Sacred Hearts Academy participant. “I want to reduce the financial burden on my parents,” he said. “It would be really expensive to have to pay tuition for me and my sister at the same time.”
“I want to get ahead,” offered Acorda, who plans to apply to Stanford, with Simmons further noting that the experience would look good on his application.
Research demonstrates that early college programs show strong and lasting evidence of effectiveness for all students. It promotes both post-secondary access and success. The data is undeniable that students who participate in such programs will be ahead of their peers and graduate from a four-year university either debt-free or with very little federal student loan debt. The latest data further supports the claim that students who participate in these programs are better prepared to transfer to a four-year university than students who attend the university without prior college experience.
Moreover, encouraging students to attend college improves individuals’ earnings over a career, increases the amount of taxes the government collects, and reduces government spending on federal assistance programs.
“This program is such a great opportunity for these high school students to earn dual credits,” said Kim Baxter, Chaminade’s Early College Director. “And it gives them that real college experience.”