ISU College of Arts and Letters launched the Early College Program in the fall semester of last year to get high school students on campus and make them familiar with campus life.
The number of participants in the program has increased from nine students in the fall of 2017, to more than 30 students in the current semester.
“The dean of arts and letters envisioned a dual credit opportunity to help students in preparing them to go to college after completing high school,” said Holly Kartchner, Director of Outreach and Retention at the ISU College of Arts and Letters. “The offered courses are not available in high school, which gives a totally different experience for the students.”
Since most high schools in Idaho follow a trimester system and ISU follows a semester system, it has been a challenge to the staff to manage a proper schedule that works with the high school students.
“The students don’t need to pay the additional fee to the campus to take classes,” said Chelsie Rauh, Director of the Early College Program. “The state fee to take high school classes in a private school is $65 per-credit, and it’s the same to take the college courses in dual enrollment program.”
The state of Idaho also has a different program that pays students in public school for college credits called Advanced Opportunity.
“The Advanced Opportunity money, launched by the state of Idaho, provides $4,125 to students from public schools toward college credits, which is enough to cover the cost,” Kartchner said.
There are also many donors who manage different services to students in the dual enrollment program such as in buying text materials and parking passes.
High school students attend class along with college students and the assignments, quizzes and exams are exactly the same for both groups.
“There are always few students dropping out of class and withdrawing from a course because of the difficulty level of the classes,” Rauh said. “The advisors and the staff are always ready to give advice and proper counselling to interested students.”
Registration information for a class can be accessed from Bengal Web and a limited number of seats in each class are allocated for high school students.
“Most of the classes in the program are among the classes that do not fill very fast so that the students have enough time to register for the class,” Rauh said.