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High school students talk about benefits of taking early college education programs

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:30 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Colleges around the county have partnered with high schools to offer early college education programs.  These programs allow high school students earn college credits while still in high school.  Tonight in part two of her two part series, Megan Cole spoke with some high school students who have benefitted from this program.

Students Micah Calhoun, Maggie Harthorne and Hunter Burpee may still be in high school, but they have already started earning their college degree.

“I think I’ve taken 8 credits I mean 8 classes as far as I know including 2 through aspirations and the rest through concurrent enrollment,” said Micah Calhoun, a junior at Ashland District School.

“Through early college I’ve been able to take elementary French and speech and English composition and poetry and Latin and college algebra and right now I’m taking Shakespeare and small business economics and management and Maine studies,” said Maggie Harthorne, a senior at Southern Aroostook Community School.

“The classes I have taken they weren’t available to me until my….until the spring of my sophomore year and I took college algebra and then my fall semester for my junior year I took English composition and speech and then my spring for my junior year I took psychology and statistics and probability and right now I’m taking an exercise science curse and I’m also taking a human genetics course that starts later in October,” said Hunter Burpee, a senior at Southern Aroostook Community School.

This is made possible through early college credit programs offered by High schools around The County.

“So we do have a lot of students participating from Southern Aroostook at our early college program.  There are two basic programs that our students are really big into and participate in.  One is through the ECAP program which is early college access program through Husson University.  And we also have students that participate in the high school aspirations program so really what that is is it’s a program sponsored by the public universities and community colleges in the Maine Department of education and our high school students have an opportunity to take college classes while they’re still in high school and earn college credit,” said Jessica Greene, 6-12 school counselor for Southern Aroostook Community School.

“It’s a great opportunity for these students to be able to take these early college courses while they are in high school.  I carve out a early college block period for the students so that they’re able to take these college courses while in their in high school and I think that this really helps to you know to have more success in the early college course while they are in school since a lot of these are athletes, a lot of these kids hold jobs after school so this really gives them time to really focus on their college courses,” said Tammy Lothrop, director of guidance for MSAD 33.

The students say this has helped them in different ways

“It gave me a lot of courage and confidence about college classes like what to except so it actually made me feel confident enough that I decided to apply more early graduation so that I could go to college sooner and taking those made me feel like I know what I’m doing and what to expect when I get to college.”

“They benefitted me really because obviously they’re free so like you don’t have to pay for them and it makes your college cheaper and also it could shorten the amount of time you have to go to college and that’s really the plan because with what I wanna do it’s gonna take 6 years so hopefully I can hopefully knock like a year down or even half a year down probably.”

“It’s also helped me out socially is it’s given me a lot of opportunity to talk to new people and to explore job fields and t’s also given me a chance to explore career fields and such.”

For students interested in these programs…speak with your schools guidance counselor.

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