Finish Your 1st Year of College in High School

November 6th, 2012

Category: News

Do you remember your senior year of high school?  I do.  I was an active student.  I participated in track, the Broadcasting Club, and National Honor Society—and I enjoyed every minute of those activities.  Yet, academically, there was something missing.  Some people call it “senioritis.”  For me, it was plain boredom.  I longed for the days when I could begin my college education—having the freedom to pursue my interests at a much deeper level.  I wished I could get my start during my senior year, a time when my college applications were completed; I had finished my required courses, and I was ready for a new challenge.

For students in the Sussex Technical School District, those who seek a challenge and may be afflicted by “senioritis” learned some exciting news, last week.  Thanks to a groundbreaking partnership between the Sussex Technical School District and Widener University, Sussex Tech students will have the opportunity to enroll and complete college courses during their junior and senior years.  This partnership, officially known as the Early Career and College Partnership, will begin during the 2013-14 school year and afford students the opportunity to participate in credit-bearing courses.  It will prepare students for college and career by a true immersion in the experience—both face to face and online college programming.  Students can potentially graduate with over thirty college credits from Widener, which translates to a whole year of college before they don their caps and gowns for high school graduation.

Not only will Sussex Tech students be able to participate, they can earn these credits for free.  The District plans to assume the cost of the programming.  This means Sussex Tech’s students have the opportunity to attend a year of college, tuition free (by the way, a year at Widener without scholarships is $35,764).   In a day when the average student-loan debt load is around $25,350 (and most of the people who I know have debts that are three times that amount) a free year of college means a lot.

The Early Career and College Partnership will not only benefit Sussex Tech; the program will be partnering with neighboring districts to offer the same opportunities to this experience.  Successful district partnerships are nothing new in Delaware, nor are dual enrollment initiatives.  For example, the Academic Challenge program brings together downstate districts to offer dual enrollment to their students.  And Colonial School District’s partnership with Wilmington University may be expanded to reach other districts as part of the BRINC collaborative applying for the RTTT-D.  What makes the Early Career and College Partnership so groundbreaking is its plan to develop a core of college courses for Sussex Tech and neighboring high schools—thus reaching a large number of high school students.

If I were 17 or 18 years old again, I would jump on the opportunity to get a head start on a year of college, free of charge, before I had my high school diploma in-hand.  The potential for this kind of programming is endless.  Not only does the Early Career and College Partnership have the potential to engage high school juniors and seniors with “senioritis,” it provides a point of access to students who may not otherwise have exposure to higher education.

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Matthew Korobkin



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