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The early college program

IMG_7737 copyBrittnay Huckaby, the early college program’s english teacher, poses for a picture. Taken by Anna Spellman

By Anna Spellman / J1 Staff

As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, students begin to think about the year ahead of them. Seniors become college freshman, juniors become seniors, sophomores become juniors, and freshmen become sophomores.

This years freshman class is very different from those before it. This class marks the first participants in the early college program. This program allows it’s participants to gain 30-60 college credit hours. In return these kids receive one to two years off of their college career. With two years worth of college credits down, these kids don’t have to worry about the full cost of tuition.

On average one semester of college costs $9,650. $9,650 a semester, with two semesters a year will total $19,300. Four years of college at $19,300 each, will cost $77,200 dollars.

Now if two years were off,that would leave $38,600. That’s a means these students ultimately save $38,600, not counting any scholarships they may receive.

From the class of 2020 onward, the early college program will be an option. Many of those currently in the sophomore, junior, and senior classes wish this opportunity had be offered as they started college.

“I wish I would have had the chance to attend the early college program. If I would have been in this program I would have really enjoyed the opportunity to take 1-2 years out of my college career.” says sophomore Brea Pfingston.

However, New palestine still offers its AP courses. These courses may give you some college credits, but not enough to take two years off of your career. Some sophomores,juniors, and seniors have rather strong feelings about the unfair opportunity the freshman class has.

“It’s kind of unfair that the freshman class gets to have this opportunity. Getting scholarships alone  is hard for me,so the cost of a four year college will be a pretty penny. Two years off for not only financial reasons, would help me out a lot.” says sophomore Haley Hiles.

AP classes are considered the hardest class courses you will take during your high school career. They are weighted to make or break your GPA, and give those who have brighter minds, a chance at receiving college credits. But in the Early college program, Ap classes are not required, and yet these participants receive college credits. The kids in this program must be child geniuses or the next Bill Nye but Brittany Huckaby says otherwise.

I don’t think “smarter” is the better word. These kids are in an elite program now and it gives them a niche that they fit into. They aren’t smarter, but they for sure know their expectations and rise to those expectations differently than other classes I’ve taught. It’s just like sports– if you’re willing to be at practice you do what the coach says. They are willing to be in the program, so they do what the teacher asks. Says second year teacher, Brittany Huckaby.

This program may be considered to be harder than the average AP classes, but that’s not the case according to Huckaby. This second year teacher has taught honors courses, is is continuing to go to school for her masters degree, that way she will be able to teach AP classes.

“Early College, despite their expectations, were not kids that were at the top of their class. Our whole goal for the program is to get 21st century scholars or students who receive free/reduced lunches because this program is going to help them pay for college in the future.” Says Huckaby.

There are students who are not on the reduced lunch plan that may need help financially for college. A fair amount of students rely on getting as many scholarships as possible to send them to college. The cost of college has risen so much over the past years, that by the time the class of 2019 graduates, we will be looking at adding another $1000 to the total of our college career.