Want to get a jump start on college? Dual enrollment classes offered at Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) supplement classes at Barnstable High School, enabling seniors to start earning college credits and allowing them to delve into the course of study they want to pursue.
BHS senior Emma Mahar plans on going to CCCC for two years starting next fall, before transfering to a four-year college. This January, she started taking math, psychology and English classes at the college as she works to become a therapist or a criminal psychologist. By starting college classes early, students can ease into the college experience, developing good study and note taking skills without having the immediate transition from high school to college.
“I think students should think of doing it because its a smart way to get a head start,” said Mahar.
Guidance counselor Shawn Kingman said seniors who stay in the high school for senior year are just as prepared for college but he encourages certain seniors to explore it and that it is, “fit for many [students] who want to move on from the 7-2[ p.m.] schedule.”
Kingman said the experience is a major shift, as there are less adults to guide you and high school students are ‘engaging in college level classes with college level kids.” It is a schedule change Kingman said he only recommends for students that “have the strong communication and learning skills to do it.”
Not only does CCCC offer a wide range of classes and courses that BHS students can take advantage of, but they are offered at a cost that is much lower compared to most colleges, and are taught right here in Hyannis.
Gabby Simpkins, a BHS alumni, participated in dual enrollment at CCCC along with online classes at BHS in order to graduate a year early. Simpkins now attends CCCC as a college student and after a year of dual enrollment, taking courses including US history, chemistry, children’s literature, and health, and after a year of attending CCCC full time, Simpkins will earn her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts by the end of the 2019.
“The one thing I do enjoy is not having to pick up my whole life,” said Simpkins. She said while the combination of tough online classes and demanding college classes made it hard to manage her time, classes at CCCC were more engaging and it was a way to experience college without it being a life-changing move.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself,” said Simpkins. Kingman similarly commented that, “every student I’ve ever had thats done dual enrollment has always enjoyed it.”
Simpkins added that, “Being in a college experience early is a great opportunity for anyone really, who wants to get ahead.”
At most four year colleges ‘trying out’ courses and not enjoying them or not having them be a part of what a student wants to do for a career is a waste of hundreds of dollars. For a comparatively low cost, dual enrollment allows students to take classes at a college level that they are interested in for fun, or classes they don’t continue with but that help them choose what they want to do later in life.
While not significantly influencing college decisions, it is an added benefit that students participating in dual enrollment courses are receiving college credit for fulfilling high school requirements.
“College tests more of your ability to apply what you learn while high school is more regurgitation,” said Simpkins. Dual enrollment creates an environment for students to adapt to a different kind of learning more slowly while they are still figuring out what they want to do.
After this year, Simpkins plans to transfer to a four year college, she professes to have loved her experience as a dual enrollment and a college student at CCCC and strongly encourages high schoolers to try the dual enrollment program.