Photo of Jessica Ashe, Minnah Ahmed and Samantha Rathbun by Cassie LeBel
By Paul Hadley
For high school students wanting to get a head start on College, Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) offers a program called ‘dual enrollment’. Dual enrollment is a program that allows local high school students to take college courses here at 4Cs while still attending and finishing high school.
In some cases, students can choose not to attend high school at all and earn both their high school diploma as well as college credits while only attending 4Cs. According to the Director of the dual enrollment program, Sharon Boonstra, 4Cs has 146 students involved in the dual enrollment program for this fall semester. Out of those 146, 100 students are enrolled at 4Cs full-time.
While most high school students join the dual enrollment program at the age of 16, Boonstra stated that younger students may be eligible join the program if they apply for and receive permission. Boonstra stated that the process of being accepted, “typically takes somewhere between 3 weeks to a month” and that the “easiest way for high school students wanting to apply to [4Cs] as a dual-enrolled student is by first talking to their high school’s guidance counselor”.
Jess Ashe, a high school student in the dual enrollment program, stated that there are many advantages of being involved and enrolled.
“I get to earn both my college and high school credits while only having to take classes at [4Cs],” said Ashe. “It’s very important for high school students to get a feel for college before starting and the college courses are more ‘real world’ related in comparison to high school classes.”
Overall, Jess stated that she loves being a dual enrolled student and she highly recommends this program to upcoming high school students.
Maheen Ahmed, another student in the dual enrollment, had nothing but positive words about the program. Maheen explained that being a part of the dual enrollment program makes her more confident in her future and that starting college earlier than most gives her a “much needed head start”. Maheen was very grateful and appreciative of her opportunity to take college courses while not having to attend high school, because her opportunity “would not have been possible without Bourne’s high school early college experience program”. For students at Bourne High School, they must go online and fill out a nine-page electronic application before the April 1 deadline.
The dual enrollment program has had an enormous impact on past students and it will continue to grow through both present students as well as future ones. There has been a steady increase in dual-enrollment over the past couple years, indicating that dual enrollment is definitely on the rise. In 2017 there were 103 dual-enrolled students and in 2018 there were 128. Those numbers are only expected to increase with dual enrollment becoming more and more popular.
Most importantly, the dual enrollment program has shown to be a success not only here at Cape Cod community college, but nationwide. According to research done by Columbia University, dual enrolled students have a higher high school graduation rate as well as a higher chance of finishing college and getting their degrees.
With more and more students signing up for dual-enrollment, the future is bright for the young students across the Cape.