Summer H. is fascinated by the cognitive development of children – something she has been exploring in college dual enrollment classes while working toward her high school graduation.

“We’re learning about the milestones in cognition for different age groups and how they tie to behavior patterns,” she said. “I want a career where I can contribute to children’s lives by providing the best environment for learning.” Summer recently earned a Child Development Assistant Permit from a community college and already has a job at a childcare center.

According to her teacher Yvette Mendez, the career opportunities are wide open, from working as a nanny or in a daycare center, to pursuing degrees in teaching or even child psychology. “Some of our students are working toward the next level — an Associate Teacher Permit, which will allow them to work in the care, development and instruction of children and supervise a CDP Assistant.”

We have a robust dual enrollment program in a range of industries, from healthcare and culinary to business and information technology. It gives current high school students the opportunity to get an early start on their college experience.

“Our personalized instruction allows us to work with students to find a career path that fits their skills and interests,” Mendez said. “Many teens are not even thinking about college until we show them the possibilities. With dual enrollment, they can explore various careers in the safe environment of our high schools.”

Mendez points out that students who are enrolled in dual enrollment programs are more excited about coming to school and do better in all their subjects than students who don’t. “Plus, they are learning how to self-motivate and complete the coursework in a timely manner,” Mendez said. “It’s wonderful to see how students find something they like and pursue it with a passion.”

Another key benefit of taking college classes while in high school is to save time and tuition money.  Most dual enrollment students have completed at least a year of college already and have a clear direction of what they want to do in life.

April is Community College Month to recognize the vital role that community colleges play as regional economic drivers while providing students with inclusive, accessible pathways to postsecondary education, good jobs and bright futures. Dual enrollment varies widely across the U.S. with some states like Idaho having 40 percent of high school students taking college-level classes to just 20 percent in Ohio and 14 percent in Michigan.

Written By:
Ann Abajian