By SARA GIBONEY
KEARNEY – Ten new University of Nebraska at Kearney courses are available for high school students through the university’s dual enrollment program.
“Dual enrollment allows high school students to take college-level courses, and they can see that they can be successful as college students,” said Kenya Taylor, dean of graduate studies and research. “It provides a jump start to college – the courses they take will apply to their degree when they attend college.”
The program allows high school students applying to colleges to show that they have succeeded at a high level in a rigorous, accredited college course. Following high school graduation, these students have the opportunity to pursue college courses for a double major, graduate from college early or lessen their course load.
This semester, 10 courses were added to the dual enrollment program at UNK, pushing the total to 17 courses at eight high schools – Kearney High, Kearney Catholic, Lexington, Hastings High, Crete, Gering, Omaha Northwest and Louisville.
Sherri Harms, chair of the Computer Science and Information Technology Department, said dual enrollment helps create more awareness about careers in computer science and information technology.
“Dual enrollment shows students they can be successful in the IT field, and provides them with incentive to pursue an IT-related major in college,” Harms said. “This impacts the number of high school students with IT career awareness, the total enrollment of CSIT majors at UNK, as well as the number of IT professionals in Central Nebraska.
“CSIT partner businesses in central Nebraska such as Buckle, Inc. and Xpanxion are almost always hiring and need more IT professionals to meet their business goals.”
The Introduction to Computer Science course is now being offered to students at the Grand Island Career Pathways Institute, an innovative learning experience that gives students the opportunity to enter the workforce or get a head start on college.
“This new partnership with UNK, along with the existing relationship CPI has with Central Community College, continues to build opportunities for our students,” said Robin Dexter, Grand Island Public Schools associate superintendent. “These opportunities provide a springboard for CPI students to fill much-needed IT positions in Central Nebraska and surrounding communities.”
With dual enrollment, high school students apply to and are admitted as college students at UNK. These students take a college-level courses and receive both college and high school credit for the course. Students can enroll for a maximum of nine hours per semester and a total of 16 semester hours prior to completing their high school requirements. All courses take place at the high school.
A student taking dual enrollment courses is registered and enrolled at UNK as a “non-degree seeking student prior to high school graduate.” The grades earned in dual enrollment courses are the first college grades a student will receive.
Dual enrollment classes cost about one-third of actual tuition and fees for the same course offered on campus.
UNK works with high school staff to determine which courses meet the academic requirements for dual enrollment. Dual enrollment classes are often geared toward general studies requirements, which are equivalent of “college core courses” required for all four-year degrees.
To be eligible, students must be juniors or seniors, meet the prerequisites of the course and be formally identified as high ability or gifted students by the school participating in the dual credit program.
Students must also have a 3.0 grade point average or better, earn an ACT score of at least 20, rank in the upper half of their high school class and demonstrate a capacity for academic success in the desired course or courses.
Dual enrollment benefits high school students and UNK, Taylor added.
“Dual enrollment provides additional students and additional credit hours,” she said. “More importantly, it can serve as a recruiting tool. If these students have a good experience in these UNK dual enrollment courses, they may be more likely to look at UNK as the college they will attend.”
Source: Kenya Taylor, 308.865.8843, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, email@example.com