FARMINGTON — Doing college-level coursework from the comfort of a high school classroom is an option many students in Davis School District are taking advantage of.
Not only does it result in college credit, and not only are enrollment fees much lower, but dealing with registrations and syllabus prepare student for the college experience, according to district leaders.
“It’s the rigor of a university course within a high school, where they get all that support,” said Superintendent Bryan Bowles. “They go to college better prepared.”
Holly Handy, concurrent enrollment specialist in the district, addressed members of the Davis School District Board of Education last month, with a recap of the district program.
During the past school year, students in the district earned 25,401 credits, a 9 percent increase over last year, she said.
The average class costs $15 at the high school, instead of what would likely be $300 at a university or other accredited institution, saving district students an estimated $6.4 million this past year alone.
Courses are taught by teachers trained as adjunct professors, who benefit by learning a higher-level curriculum in an area they are already passionate about, according to Handy.
Another benefit of the program, she said, is when students who otherwise might not consider college an option, have success in the classes.
“I loved interacting with the kids that were first generation, that had no tradition of college in their family,” she said. “Concurrent enrollment allowed them to just launch – to say to themselves, ‘I am college material.’
“Being successful in a concurrent enrollment class can be a tipping point,” she said.
Students who don’t do well on ACT tests, for example, may have success applying for schools if they have a stellar GPA from their concurrent classes.
The most popular classes are in the health sciences area, a “hot” field, said Handy.
“Students are gravitating to health sciences,” she said. “There are tons of jobs and opportunities for graduating students.”
Other popular classes are in math, English and computer literacy. Several fill general education requirements at universities.
Weber State University is the sponsoring institution for Davis district, and credits earned there are accepted by all other in-state public schools.
Private state universities such as BYU and Westminster accept the credits on a case-by-case basis.
If WSU doesn’t offer a certain class, the district is free to seek out other institutions to bring the coursework to Davis students.
By registering for classes with WSU, students have access to the amenities and resources on campus, including the library.
“Students learn college readiness skills, to use a college syllabus and college textbooks and to fill college assignments, quizes and tests,” said Handy.
They won’t have sticker shock when they get to campus, she said.
“It’s a jump-start to college, a huge tuition savings,” she said. “It’s taking college preparation seriously.”