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November 19, 2017

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Reaping rewards of college in the HS: Three DCS grads reflect

Oct. 23, 2017

Saving money, saving time, moving ahead in degree programs: Three alumni who took college courses at Duanesburg Jr./Sr. High School report they achieved all of this and more.

During the 2016-17 school year, DCS students earned a total of 823 college credits, valued at $127,565, for free through a partnership with Schenectady County Community College’s (SCCC) University in the High School (UHS) program. Duanesburg students also got a jumpstart on their college studies by completing Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which carry a nominal exam fee.

Students who take college-level classes find themselves better prepared for the rigors of college. And they enjoy the classes as well: 98 percent of those who signed up for one or more of the 11 UHS courses offered last year in Duanesburg earned college credits, none failed and just one percent withdrew from a class.

Earning 32 UHS and 30 AP credits at Duanesburg not only saved Abby White money, time and stress as a new college student, it was a key factor in her final college decision.

The Duanesburg Class of 2017 graduate and future civil engineer decided to pursue physics and engineering at SUNY Oneonta “because they were guaranteed to accept all of my accumulated credits, meaning that I would not be forced to repeat any of the coursework that I had already done,” she said.

“Taking college courses in high school allowed me to place out of all of my liberal arts requirements, become used to the rigorous pace of a college class and develop upper-level study habits.”

Class of 2017 graduate Julia Alotta is majoring in public policy at the University at Albany. She plans to go on to law school to “become a lawyer for children who need representation.”

She said that studying at the college level during high school “definitely” saved her time and money.

“Thankfully, because I took UHS Pre-Calculus and Spanish, I did not need to take a language or a math course this semester. [Taking] AP Government & Politics helped me out too, because I was able to skip Politics 101 and go straight to 102.”

Sarah White, also a Class of 2017 graduate, is a freshman at Union College who’s exploring her degree program and career options.

Sarah decided not to transfer credits earned at DCS because she wanted to take the prerequisite courses at Union to which they would have applied. Studying at the college level while at Duanesburg High School “certainly” helped her prepare.

 “The teaching style of the AP and UHS classes is pretty close to those of my college classes, especially UHS English 12 and AP Government & Politics,” Sarah said. “It's a lot of reading on your own and teaching yourself, and then coming to class ready to discuss what you've learned.”

Whether exploring educational and career opportunities at a private college, planning a career in law or delving into STEM at a state university, Duanesburg’s graduates encourage others to take advantage of UHS and AP classes.

“I would tell people looking to take college classes in high school to take as many as they can,” Abby said. “They are a great place to dive deeply into a subject and learn a lot about subjects that they are interested in.”

Julia and Sarah concur. “I would definitely tell students to take college courses in high school because it is way to challenge yourself academically and prepare for the college workload,” Julia said.

Sarah also would “definitely advise any high school student to sign up for those classes. I didn't realize it at the time, but they really did prep me for my college courses.”

 

Abby White stands in front of college building

Abby White: “I would suggest that people take as many STEM
college courses as they can. Even if they wind up repeating them,
they will still have a solid base knowledge going into college.”

 

Julia Alotta portrait

Julia Alotta: “Going to a small high school prepared me to attend
a large university because I learned not to be afraid to ask for help.
I am now on a first-name basis with all my professors because of the
close-knit relationships I established with my teachers at DCS.
They definitely gave me the confidence to speak out and introduce
myself and ask questions in a large class setting.”

 

Sarah White portrait

Sarah White found herself well-prepared for
the rigors of college after taking college-level
classes at Duanesburg.




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