MAYHEW – East Mississippi Community College can’t teach high school students how to be in the dorm before curfew. It can’t help them avoid the Freshman 15. It won’t force them out of bed for
8 a.m. classes. But it can prove to them that, in college, your academic success or failure is purely your own doing.
EMCC’s Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit program, which allows select high school students to take college-level courses for full credit before they’ve graduated, eases the sometimes rocky transition to higher education. It allows high school students to get basic classes out of the way early while simultaneously earning high school credit and, perhaps more importantly, gives them a glimpse of the discipline and personal responsibility required to succeed at the college level.
“You have to read, read, read. Every day. And reading is not my best subject,” admits Myranda Johnson, a rising senior at Columbus High School who completed General Psychology and Western Civilization I through EMCC’s Dual Enrollment program during her junior year.
Johnson took her classes online, although in-class Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit is also offered at all of EMCC’s campuses and on-site at select high schools, such as Starkville Academy. The program is gearing up for its summer semesters now with registration deadlines on May 24 for on-campus classes and May 29 for online classes. The first summer semester for all classes begins May 29. The registration deadline for the second summer semester is June 29 with classes beginning July 2. The fall full-term semester registration deadline is Aug. 17 with classes starting Aug. 20.
Kenyatta Stewart, also a rising senior at CHS, found out like Johnson that the weekly online quizzes in her psychology class meant she had to do her homework, even if nobody was checking to make sure she had.
“There’s a time limit on the quiz, so if you didn’t read your chapter it’s a struggle to take your test. I tried a couple of times and it wasn’t a good option not to read to read the chapter,” said Stewart.
In addition to quizzes and tests, classes like Western Civilization also utilize weekly discussion topics, which require students to research a topic and post a response online. Johnson estimates she spent eight to 10 hours each week preparing for her Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit classes, and that was in addition to her full high school schedule. But she wasn’t completely alone in the struggle.
“I had my culinary class to back me up. Each week they were like, ‘Myranda, did you read your lesson?’ They helped me out a lot,” said Johnson.
But reading a chapter or a section once doesn’t always mean the student is done. Johnson said she had to read some sections several times for the subject matter to sink in, and even then she would sometimes supplement her reading with online research. Stewart says she’s taking Western Civ I over the summer because history isn’t her strongest subject and she doesn’t want any high school coursework to interfere with her study time.
Both students plan to take College Algebra over the summer, as well. Both earned A’s in high school algebra, but they’re taking different approaches to the college version.
Johnson hesitated about whether she would take the class online or at the Golden Triangle campus.
“I think it might be better if I come out to campus to take the class to get the feel of it and the hands-on experience. Because reading the book will not get it,” she said.
Stewart is confident she can handle algebra online.
“Math is my favorite subject and my mom’s an accountant. I’ll have help at home,” she said.
Both Johnson and Stewart plan to attend EMCC after high school to pursue nursing degrees. And both are emboldened by the fact that they’ll complete their basic coursework faster thanks to Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit and that the program has taught them how to prepare for college classes.
“This is such a great way for high school students to jumpstart their college career,” said Cindy Johnson, EMCC director of College/Career Planning. “They learn so much in addition to what they’re taught in class. They learn what’s expected from them as college students. And they can graduate high school with 12 to 24, or more, hours toward their college coursework.”
High school students are eligible for Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit only if they’ve completed 14 core high school units, have a 3.0 grade point average or better and receive a written recommendation from their high school guidance counselor or principal.
Tuition for classes taught at an EMCC campus is $270 per three-credit hour class for students who scored a 20 or lower on the ACT and $135 for those scoring a 21 or above, along with a $65 part-time registration fee. Online courses for dual enrolled students are tuition-free, but the student must pay a $65 registration fee and an online fee of $30 per course. Students are responsible for any additional fees associated with the course as well as textbook costs.