It’s a great way to save money on college, get a head start in class, and make productive use of those four years in high school: Take college classes for credit instead of high school ones. More Illinois students than ever are jumping at the chance to double up on coursework. Students with dual credit classes haven’t replaced those with Advanced Placement, but they have found another way to get a leg up on their college career.
The Chicago Tribune reports on how Illinois high schools are partnering with local colleges and universities to provide college-level classroom experience before getting a high school diploma. The reporter stepped into a classroom here at Trinity while looking at how the college and a local high school have worked together.
Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire added a college-level philosophy course last year. Students could earn dual credit through Trinity College in Deerfield, paying a third of the cost that a student at the college would pay.
This fall, 77 students enrolled, up from 53 a year ago.
The class meets a goal set by the Stevenson school board to increase the number of students who have at least one college experience before graduation.
While Trinity officials said they want to prepare more teens for higher education, they also see a practical advantage in the school’s campaign for the brightest applicants.
“If we make a good connection with the students, then it’s possible those students would come to Trinity,” said Joyce Shelton, associate academic dean at the college.
On a recent afternoon, students debated where the physical world ends and the metaphysical world begins as they studied Plato’s divided line.
Seniors Zach Blumenfeld and Allison Perlin sat in the front row, fielding questions from teacher Clayton Duba, who challenged students in the Socratic tradition about the essence of a desk chair and magic of a unicorn.
Between them, Blumenfeld and Perlin will graduate with 21 AP classes plus the college-level philosophy class. Both said they jumped at the chance to take philosophy, seeing it as preparation for a political science major in college.
“This is what I’d like college to be like,” Blumenfeld said.