By Denise Moore and Caitlyn Saldana
Wouldn’t you be ecstatic to take college courses in high school? This can be achieved with the Dual Grad Program at North High School. The Dual Graduation Program is a program in which incoming freshman students are able to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from the local Scott Community College once they are seniors. This program is a collaboration between Davenport Community Schools and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, and is currently benefiting many.
Students who are enrolled in this program get free tuition for the dual credit courses that are taken in high school, some credits transferring to many 4-year institutions, and an increased probability of getting a higher degree in college. The cost for an associates degree at an average college costs nearly ten thousand dollars and taking it here, in high school, saves tons.
The Dual Grad Program has many benefits beyond financial benefits. Graduates who are not planning to go to college will learn important life skills. They will also be more prepared for entering the workfield as opposed to someone who hasn’t had an advanced education beyond high school. They would also have an easier transition to a college of their choice based on their college class experiences.
The benefits of this program are great but there are also requirements for it, as many great things do. The requirements include having a 2.5 GPA or above, no misbehavior in and out of classes, and a 95% or above attendance throughout the school year.
The enrolled student will be able to graduate early, but the student does not have the, “complete experience of being in college. The teachers know that you are in high school so they take it easier on you. If you are expecting the real college experience, then this isn’t for you” says senior Ronald Wilmont.
Senior Katie Sturmer also says, “You have to be hardworking and dedicated and flexible and have good time management”. In order to maintain a decent GPA the Dual Grad student needs to be able to balance multiple things at once. When asked what her reason was for joining the Dual Graduation program, Katie answered, “I wanted to have a challenge and be ahead in college.”
Another senior at North, Alyssa Duran, agrees with this by saying, “You need to be hard working, organized, determined to finish things, and you need motivation.” Alyssa also warns, “If you don’t take it seriously then it will ruin your gpa for college.” This is why students are encouraged to try their best throughout the program.
There are always two sides to a story, and always more than one opinion for a topic. Other students had various different opinions. Senior Will Snowball, who quite the dual grad program, responded by saying that, “They cram us into a 9 week course that is supposed to be a semester. if you are in any other activities, you’re not going to have time”. Time is a commonly talked about subject with the program, and senior Derek Randolph confirmed that by also saying, “If you want a lot of electives, this isn’t a good program, because I couldn’t do a lot of different things with my course load.”
Another downside to the program is that it can be exceptionally difficult to transfer credits to colleges outside of state. Brennan Wells, senior at North High School, states that “If the student has in mind an idea of what college they’re going to, if they are going in state, then it is a good choice.”
Opinions on the Dual Graduation Program, of course, will always vary, but the benefits of this program are proven. The many people in the program have the great advantage of being prepared to start their lives as adults. An associates degree is a stepping stone toward a successful future and is a splendid milestone to start the adult life. The work field is not as easy as it used to be; the concepts have changed plenty and with this extra boost in your transcript, many people would be grateful that they have had this lead into the walk of life.
Interested in finding out more about Dual Grad? Talk to your guidance counselor today.