Dual Enrollment – Fitting College Courses in a Busy High School Schedule
April 13, 2016
As you consider dual enrollment opportunities for your high school student – like Cedarville’s College Now, you may be worried how your student will be able to fit college-level courses into an already too-busy schedule. With high school classes, extracurricular activities, service opportunities, and social events, it may seem impossible to add one more thing to their schedule. In today’s post, Jeannie Riffle, a mom of a Cedarville College Now student, shares how her son has been able to enjoy an active high school life plus get a head start on college courses. She also explains how Cedarville blessed their family during a difficult time.
Taking online courses through Cedarville’s College Now has been a positive educational experience for our son, Jackson, who is a junior in high school this year.
Jackson attends a small rural public high school in a building that includes kindergarten through 12th grade. Being in a small school gives him the advantage to participate in various activities that can be limited in a larger school setting. He is a member of the competitive marching and concert bands and high school choir. He also is a varsity basketball player.
Outside of school, Jackson is a member of the Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and regularly seeks extra musical opportunities. He takes private piano and percussion lessons. Jackson plays drums and guitar for the worship team at church weekly, has helped with the Wednesday evening children’s program as well as the elementary basketball program in the community, and likes to attend youth group activities at church. Oh, and he also teaches percussion lessons to one or two junior high students.
As you can see, Jackson likes to keep himself busy!
But, Jackson also knows how to become immobile on the couch for a good football or basketball game like any other teenager!
So at the end of last school year, with the introduction of the College Credit Plus (CCP) program and new opportunities for him, my husband and I wanted to carefully consider Jackson's options and help him make good decisions for his educational experience. We attended a presentation in February at his school and discovered that there would only be one option for him to take a dual enrollment class at the high school. The other options presented were to go to classes at the nearby community college or take online courses.
After receiving a flyer from Cedarville University about online dual enrollment courses, Jackson decided to try it. Because of his busy schedule, we opted for him to try one online course for this past fall semester. He took Personal Finance to replace a required economics course at his high school. His college prep class schedule included one study hall, but he was also granted another study hall for his online course. (This would replace the class period of the economics course.) The study hall was also the last period of the day, so the school granted him the option of leaving early or staying to do his work. Many days he found it easier to go home to study (a quieter, non-interrupted environment), but would stay if he had an after school activity.
We bought a Chrome Book so that he had access to his email and course work wherever he was. This was a great help, especially at school.
Jackson has been self-motivated and displays good time management with his school work, and that helped greatly with his success with his class. In the fall, he looked ahead at assignments and deadlines, so that everything was under control, especially when he had early morning and Friday evening marching band practice or Saturday band contests. As parents, we tried to keep our roles to questioning if he had everything under control and reminding him of the calendar events for the week. We also tried to be available to help clarify logistical needs.
For second semester, Jackson decided to “fill” his last period study hall with another online course, and it is going well, also. Basketball was in full swing as the course started, but Jackson seemed to have a handle on managing and using all his open time to make sure he had his work done. He would squeeze in music practice times for lessons whenever he could …. and I should admit that there were several times this fall and winter we had a xylophone in the middle of our living room. (For easier access to practice, of course!)
We have seen Jackson grow and mature through this opportunity. Trying one additional course each semester to replace a required high school course was a manageable way for him to step into college course work. Because of the amount of electives he can take as a senior next year, he has decided to use the Cedarville online CCP courses as a majority of his class work. He will be spending half of his day at the high school with band, choir, and music theory, and he plans to participate in the same activities again.
On a personal note, Cedarville has added an extra special touch to this experience that we don’t believe other institutions can compare with. Having always attended a public school, to have a biblical view incorporated into class work was a new and positive experience in itself, but in February, we had an experience that really brought the connection even closer.
Jackson had been preparing to perform in two music opportunities that were very special for him. The first was in the OMEA All-State Band in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the other was two weeks later as a finalist in The President’s Own Marine Band Concerto Competition in Washington, D.C.
When he returned from his All-State weekend, he didn’t feel well and just couldn’t seem to get back to feeling like himself. By Friday afternoon, we managed to get into the doctor’s by way of someone else’s canceled appointment before his basketball game that evening. The basketball game was not going to happen that evening or the next evening, because with one stick of the finger and 10 minutes later, we found ourselves heading to the emergency room at Dayton Children’s. After calls (en route) to immediate family (and the basketball coach), my next call was to Paula Kordic, Jackson’s College Now adviser at Cedarville, because he had course work to complete with an open window and a deadline, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. She was so understanding and kind to help to contact his professor about the situation.
Jackson ended up in the ICU with Diabetic Keytone Acidosis and was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. The Cedarville connection was present as one of his nurses was one of Cedarville’s adjunct nursing instructors, and the other a nursing student in his last semester! To be able to connect and converse with some familiarity was comforting during that time, to say the least! In addition, both Jackson’s adviser and professor communicated with us offering support and prayers during his hospital stay and recovery time, which was such a blessing.
By God’s hand in this situation, Jackson did get to perform in Washington, D.C., and is currently adjusting to his “new normal.” He was reflecting just this week on how special Cedarville is and its personal touch and care for him as a student. I couldn’t agree more!