Chicago Public Schools students benefit from dual-enrollment courses

Franco La Porta, a senior at Hancock High School on the Southwest side, writes about the value of this partnership between Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago in this guest post.

There isn’t an instruction manual for college. We can’t just look up, “how to go through college,” on YouTube and hope that a manual shows up. Leaving high school and going to college is a big leap, especially when we might not have the knowledge to overcome it. A couple of questions may arise from this regarding what to expect from the college classrooms and how various other students act. There is a solution however—Dual-Enrollment classes.

Approximately twenty students from my school attend Dual-Enrollment classes at Daley College.  I’m one of the many other students at my school to be fortunate to be involved in this. Still being a senior in high school, I’m able to witness first-hand the way that a college class is like and how it differs from a high school class. Not only that but, Dual-Enrollment a program that is open to both qualified juniors and seniors.

What it does is let the high-school student take a college course at a college campus. The students are able to leave the school after a certain amount of classes and make their way to a city college.  However, to be able to take this class, the student needs a 19 or higher on the Reading part of the ACT.  It’s free! One of the many dual-enrollment classes that a student can take is English 101, which counts as my high-school senior English class. This class prepares the students to read and write at a different level than what they were used to.

I interviewed two of my friends, Jose Angulo and Juan Alba, who are taking the same class with me. Both want people to know what opportunities and options students have.  My questions revolved around whether or not their behavior and maturity levels have changed now that they’re taking an actual college class.

The questions given to Jose were mainly revolved around whether the Dual- Enrollment class has helped him and if he would recommend it towards the upcoming seniors. When asked how the class had given him more knowledge about how a college course is, he answered, “There’s no more preparing for college; we’re in college. It’s now about perfecting what we can do to move on to greater writing.” When I asked him if he’s more mature, Jose answered, “Being at the college campus makes me act more like of an adult, rather than like a child at high school.”

I asked Juan Alba how it felt to be in a college class with the actual pressure on your shoulders. He responded, “I felt a bit nervous. It felt like the first day of school all over again. The only good thing is that I would be around more mature people than high school.” I asked him whether or not he was able to balance all of his work, to which he replied, “Knowing I already have homework from high school, I couldn’t let my college work slip away. I have to balance my time well in order to achieve both things at once.”

According to Katherine Hughes from the, Community College Research Center (CCRC) in an article titled, “Some Teens Start College Work Early via Dual Enrollment,” published on March 9, 2012, Hughes says, “There’s a growing base of evidence that dual enrolment students do better in college.” If a student is able to achieve greater results by taking this college class, then shouldn’t we be promoting this program more? This is what the Board of Education and the City Colleges of Chicago are doing. If they succeed, this program will open up doors for many students who begin to embark on their own journey soon enough.

 

Updated 10.25.13 10:25 a.m. A previous version of this post referred to Dual Enrollment as Dual Credit. We also corrected the misunderstanding that only seniors can take this. 

 

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