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MHS students benefiting from dual credit program

As a counselor at Marshalltown High School, it has been nothing short of amazing to see the incredible opportunities our students have to participate in a dual credit program with Marshalltown Community College.

What exactly is dual credit, you ask? Overseen by the Department of Education and funded with state dollars, students at MHS are earning college credit while they are still in high school. They have the opportunity to take classes on our MHS campus from instructors who are highly qualified in their content areas, or on MCC’s campus, or online. Many students are taking courses such as Pre-Calculus, Calculus I and II, Composition I and II, Introduction to Psychology, US History, General Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, just to name a few. In addition, some students are taking the opportunity to begin training for their careers in areas such as industrial maintenance, welding and nursing.

For our students, dual credit opportunities put them at a great advantage when they begin college. First, they get a jumpstart on gaining credits. More importantly, they gain the skills necessary to be successful as full time college students. Students who have college credits under their belt before freshman year can benefit in many ways such as: potentially shorten the amount of time it takes to earn their degree; explore different majors and/or minors; carry lighter course loads each semester; participate in opportunities to study abroad or work at internships; and finally, begin their careers earlier. However students choose to take advantage of these opportunities, they benefit immeasurably.

Of course, the most celebrated benefit of dual credit is in terms of dollars and cents. According to the data provided by Lara Thoms, MCC’s Coordinator of High School Relations, at present, MHS has 1,030 students registered for 3,243.50 credits. This is equal to $629,239 in college tuition savings! Exactly how many students are able to pursue post-secondary education or training because their financial burden was lessened by dual credit, we’ll never know; however, I can definitively state that the opportunities are rich and I am proud that our students are the beneficiaries.

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Meri Edel is a counselor at Marshalltown High School.