Craig When senior Kaycee Stagner graduates from Moffat County High School and heads to college in the fall, she'll be leagues ahead of her fellow classmates.
Stagner, who plans on attending the University of Wyoming-Laramie to study agriculture business, animal science or teaching, will be taking with her college credit she earned while attending high school.
The Colorado Northwestern Community College and high school dual enrollment program allows students to receive college credit for taking college-level courses at the high school. The program, which is in its 10th year, is available to eligible and interested high school juniors and seniors.
For Stagner, taking four college-level high school classes last year, including public speaking, algebra, trigonometry and advanced composition opened her eyes to the future.
"It really made me experience a college class. It was very realistic," she said. "They make you take finals, which I've never done before."
Stagner was at the high school Monday making adjustments to her already busy senior schedule, which includes more dual enrollment classes - physics, chemistry II and senior English.
"It's worth it because now I feel more comfortable knowing how college works," she said. "There are definitely no free days like there are in high school."
Mindy Shue, the registrar technician at Colorado Northwestern Community College, said the program benefits motivated students like Stagner.
"It's definitely a program for the exceptional high school student that is college-bound," she said. "It's an enormous opportunity because they have the chance to earn college credit in high school."
Moffat County High School counselor Paula Duzik said successful students end up earning considerable amounts of college credit that can be used at CNCC or as transfer credit for another college.
"I'd say the average student ends up with about 30 credits," she said.
Duzik said the program is open to juniors and seniors 16 or older who have garnered a certain score on the ACT test or equivalent standardized testing. Additional "accuplacer" testing is available for juniors who have not taken the placement tests at the college, Shue said.
Students interested in enrolling in the program still have time to take the placement test before registration for courses begins Aug. 21.
"Students can still do it," Shue said. "All they need to do is call the school and we'll schedule them."
Students also are allowed to take courses at CNCC with approval from the high school, Duzik said.
The Moffat County School District covers the student's tuition. The student is responsible for a $4 charge per credit as well as other college fees and books.
For more information, call CNCC at 824-1101.