Holt High School students earn college credit through new program

HOLT, MI. (WILX) - In this edition of Schools Rule, WILX is highlighting a new program at Holt High School that’s getting students enrolled in college classes early.

Holt High School’s Early College Program is just what it sounds like-students are earning their diploma and up to an Associate’s Degree at the same time.

“The functional part of early college is years 11, 12 and 13-it adds a year to the high school delivery,” explained Lucas Schrauben, Director of Secondary Programs at Holt High School.

In that 13th year, high school students are full time on a college campus, earning transferable college credit.

"They're early college students. They're taking college classes at an advanced age and they're succeeding with it,” said Schrauben. “So to get high school students get from here in our buildings to real world experiences that relate to high demand, high wage opportunities-and it reduces the expense to get there? That’s fantastic.”

Holt High School partners with Lansing Community College and Davenport University. Right now they have students enrolled in programs like Business and Nursing, so while they walk the halls of their high school, they’re also earning up to an Associate’s Degree.

"I think it's a great idea, it gets you a very big head start on the world," said Raegan Johns, a junior who is enrolled in an Early College Nursing Program at Lansing Community College. "Instead of going on and doing our own thing in college and being absolutely clueless, we have an idea of what's going on."

"A lot of people graduate college and they have a huge pile of debt and this is a really great way for me to eliminate that debt," said Drew Hamilton, a junior enrolled in a Business program at Davenport University. “Don't let the fear of the unknown control the opportunity."

So college debt is virtually gone. Holt’s Early College is paid for by per-pupil-accounting funding from the state, meaning that the college credit students earn is essentially free of charge.

"It feels like I'm growing up. It makes me remember that I'm no longer a child, I'm old enough to know what I'm going to do with my life," said Debra Merrick, a junior enrolled in an Early College Business program at Davenport University.

Students meet with mentors to help them juggle their high school classes while also completing college coursework. Those meetings include going over everything from goal setting to college note taking.

"We're not pushing a one-size fits all,” said Michael Willard, Principal at Holt High School. “It's different programs for different kids for whatever meets their needs."

'We don't want to meet them at the bar,” said Schrauben. “We want raise the bar and have them meet that. Early college is one way for us to do that.”

Students still get to walk at High School graduation and attend prom.

A brochure from Holt College reads:
What is an Early College?
1.) An opportunity for students to earn a career certificate, up to 60 transferable college credits or an Associate Degree
2.) A 3 year program which begins in the 11th grade year
3.) 11th and 12th grade years are a mix of high school classes and college classes
4.) During the 5th year (or 13th year), the student is on the campus of LCC or Davenport University full time

What are the benefits?
1.) All college tuition (up to 60 credits), books and fees are provided with little to no cost to the student or parent for three years
2.) Easy transition to workforce or four year university
3.) Mentors on both the high school and college campus
4.) Flexible scheduling

Who's the right fit?
Sophomores who:
1.) Are on track to graduate
2.) Have self discipline
3.) Are mature
4.) Are personally motivated and demonstrate initiative
5.) Takes personal responsibility for their behavior and learning

What are the commitments?
1.) Students will be in high school 9th grade through a 13th year or 5 years of high school
2.) One high school graduation requirement is to be taken during teh 5th year which will be math or math related
3.) Students will attend mandatory cohort meetings
4.) Students will walk with their class (but not receive their diploma until the completing ion the 5th year)

There are Early College programs across the state of Michigan. For more information on those programs, click here.

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