Navigating Early College and Dual Credit Alternatives
As a 15 year old sophomore headed to college, life is hectic and strange. On one hand, I can barely drive. On the other hand, I’m laying down the building blocks for my future life, and trying to figure out which block to set down next. Though it may not seem like much at first, just a couple courses in an online community college, when you take a step back, you see that I am in an early college program, while also maintaining a home-based high school career, a “driver’s education”, and a social life. I’m just lucky my parents aren’t making me get a job.
This fall, I plan to go to University of North Texas, my dream four-year college. At the rate I’m going, I’ll graduate by the age of nineteen, then it’s off to medical school. Where? I don’t know. That’s the next building block I have to lay down. At that time, I’m also probably going to move out, and then I’ll have to get a job, so for a while I will probably be juggling more things than I can handle. I’m prepared to drop some of these things, or mess them up, because I’m barely handling life right now, and that’s okay.
This education path is probably not the hardest, but it is definitely one of the most confusing. If you’re thinking about early college or dual credits, things that you need to know about extensively are:
- the admissions process of the college,
- the courses you want to take, and
- how much time these courses will take up.
When I began to think about taking dual credits courses, my first thought was how it would affect my current academic life. Because I was going to be taking the courses online and not in person, I wasn’t too worried about how my social life would be affected. Always be prepared for sudden pitfalls and if the school you want to go has a dual credits/early college coordinator, do not be afraid to contact them and ask them all of your questions. If you aren’t sure if you want to go to a certain course or college, audit a lecture. Auditing is the best way to find out what this college or course is like, and if you have the mental ability to take it. Finally, and I know this is said so much in so many different contexts, but manage your time! If you don’t manage your time, and plan things out, at least rudimentarily, you will end up being confused and lost, and will lose focus in your goals.
There are certain values, mindsets, and skills that any student interested in dual credits classes must have. Of course, the ability to work hard is a given, but it is also very important that any student who wishes to take dual credits can easily adapt. College is very different from high school. Obviously, it is more intense, but the structure of college as well is quite different. In high school, teachers almost always reached out to their students to make sure that the students had the information and the material needed to successfully complete any task. In college, however, you will most likely not have someone to rely upon to tell you what information and materials you need. You often have to figure it out for yourself. This sudden influx of independence in college is probably what makes it the most different from high school.
Going to college early is not an easy path to take, but for those of you that don’t want to spend most of your young adult life going to school, and for those of you with the ability to, early college and dual credits are one of the most available alternatives.
Young people are taking control of their own pathway to careers, college and contribution. Powered by digital learning, “GenDIY” is combatting unemployment and the rising costs of earning a degree by seeking alternative pathways to find or create jobs they love. Follow their stories here and on Twitter at #GenDIY. For more on GenDIY, check out:
- 50 Things Millennials Must Read, Watch, Listen to and Know About
- Creating Your Career: Why Millennials are Re-thinking Full-Time
- Reconsidering Liberal Arts, the Gig Economy, and Global Trends for Generation DIY
Lila Huston is a student at the University of North Texas. Follow Lila on Twitter, @grumpymilo.
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