The growth of early college programs has resulted in students being able to study for an associate degree while still in high school.
In St Joseph County Indiana, the option is becoming increasingly popular. At Mishawaka High School, Jordan Cotterman chose to sign up for the early college program when he enrolled as a freshman. “I decided to enroll because college is expensive,” said Jordan, who is 15. “It sounded like a challenge for me.”
Jordan is enrolled in a challenging English class. Along with his fellow early college students, there are honors students as well. He has noticed there is more homework. “It’s not necessarily harder, it just takes more time,” he said. The class is a dual credit course.
A high school offering a dual college program commits to offering enough dual credit courses so that a student may earn an associate degree or certificate upon high school graduation. Students usually complete the classes as a group, and are given additional support to complete the rigorous courses and smooth the college transition.
Many high schools offer dual credit courses, but fewer offer early college programs. However, in northern Indiana, the number of early college programs is growing.