Partnership between Owen Co. Schools, community college an hour away giving high schoolers a chance to start postsecondary studies ahead of the pack

News-Herald, Owenton, April 27, 2016

Early College Program gives students college credit at little cost

Another group of Owen County High School students are finishing up their first semester in college … during high school.

OCHS offers the unique opportunity of an Early College Program through Jefferson Community and Technical College to students who wish to earn college credit at a fraction of the cost. Those enrolled ride a bus to the JCTC Carrollton campus a few days each week for morning classes, then return to OCHS for the rest of their high school classes.

The Early College Program can be extremely beneficial for those looking to cut college costs. The classes come at a discounted rate of $90 for three classes per semester, which is considerably cheaper than the few thousand dollars the average college class would cost.

As dual credit classes, students also receive credit within the high school toward graduation. For students who take several courses throughout their junior and senior years of high school, they have the potential to leave high school with more than 30 credit hours, nearly the equivalent of their entire freshman year of college.

Owen County is not in close proximity to a college like other urban schools are, but JCTC is less an hour away.

“It’s a great opportunity for rural students to earn college credit,” Guidance Counselor Doug Wainscott said. “Students can choose from six different classes and next year will be able to take two college classes here at the high school.”

When asked who should consider taking the dual-credit classes, Wainscott said it’s a great opportunity for any student who plans on attending a 2- or 4 year college after graduation.

Students currently enrolled in the program gave their opinions about the Early College Program.

“It was awesome that we could pay less money for college ahead of time,” Samantha Tamplin said. “There were also classes here at school, so we didn’t even have to leave the school.”

Megan Wilhoite said the program helps students get general education classes out of the way, saving money in the long run.

“It’s a great transition into real college classes,” Sarah Shockley said. “I feel more prepared for college than if I hadn’t taken those classes.”

Wainscott believes the Early College Program is a great opportunity, and with the expected enrollment of nearly 60 juniors and seniors next year, OCHS students think so as well.

“It’s really nice to get some college credit out of the way,” John Randall Towles said.

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