High school students get jump start with dual credit | CraigDailyPress.com

High school students get jump start with dual credit

Kristen Cox leans on the entrance sign of Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig campus. Cox is one of many in the area who takes college classes before finishing high school.

A student soon to graduate from high school planning to move on to the next level of their education may have some considerable transitions in store for them. Although, the shock of college life will be lessened for those who start it early.

Colorado Northwestern Community College provides a method for young students to get ahead on higher learning with concurrent enrollment. The program has been in place at the establishment for many years, but like many schools, it was bolstered by state legislation in 2009 that enhanced the access of college courses for those currently enrolled in high school.

Besides servicing students in Craig, CNCC features concurrent enrollment for Rangely, Meeker, Oak Creek, Hayden and many more communities. More than 150 students in Moffat County currently receive dual credit through the offering.

Some of the more popular classes are the automotive program, for those who want practical training to get into the job world, or general education, like English composition, biology or psychology, which are easily transferrable to four-year schools.

Those who apply themselves can complete their coursework for an associate's degree before their high school graduation.

The benefits are many — financially, it can amount to some huge savings, but it's also an environment where students can get a feel for college demands without being overwhelmed.

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"Because we're a community college and smaller, we're more one on one with the students, so you can get more of a picture of where you're going and that path becomes clear," said Donna Theimer, dean for CNCC's Craig campus. "That personal attention is what we're known for."

Flexibility is also a factor.

Kristen Cox, of Hamilton, has been able to put together a schedule in the past year that includes college classes, a part-time job and studying through Rocky Mountain Digital Academy. Currently studying everything from ceramics to human growth and development to economics, she's also looking at some further matriculation at schools outside the area, but she credits CNCC for being available to get her in the college frame of mind.

"When you look at the statistics, you see the kind of earnings of people who go to college, so it just makes sense to start early," Cox said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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