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Majority of Emmetsburg High School Seniors Earning College Credit

By Staff | Apr 22, 2008

Not so many years ago, when a high school graduate headed to the university in the fall, college was a brand new experience to them. Having never attended a college class or earned college credit, it was uncharted territory.

How times have changed.

This May, Emmetsburg High School will graduate 64 seniors as members of the Class of 2008. Fifty-one of those new graduates will have some amount of college credit already under their belt. One will have even earned enough credits to receive an associate’s degree.

“Currently, this semester, we have 51 seniors and 14 juniors taking classes at Iowa Lakes Community College,” said Jay Jurrens, principal at Emmetsburg High School. “During the last four years, this trend has just exploded.”

Jurrens explained that the dual enrollment program provides an opportunity for students to earn dual high school and college credit.

Ten courses are offered “in-house,” at the high school, and are taught by high school instructors who already have the necessary degrees to teach college level courses. Among the subjects offered are: American Literature I and II, General Chemistry I and II, Normal Nutrition, Advanced Spanish, Human Relations, and Introduction to Food Service.

Ten members of the junior class at Emmetsburg High School are also involved in the Career Academy Program. Career Academy students are high school juniors and seniors who are earning college credit and are exploring career opportunities at the same time.

“The Career Academy Program provides for more vocational type courses,” Jurrens noted. “We have students attending college courses at the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes Community College every morning from 8 to 10 a.m.”

Jurrens added that students can step right into a college program after graduation with advanced standing in their chosen field of study.

Among the Career Academy options are: Automobile Technology, Autobody Technology, Ag Farm Technology, Welding, Pre-nursing, Hotel/Restaurant Management, Farm Equipment & Diesel Technology, Motorcycle & Small Engine Technology, Marine & Small Engine Technology, and Landscape & Turfgrass Technology.

According to Jurrens, college courses are open to any junior and senior high school student who can place appropriately on the college ASSET test, which they take their sophomore year. Freshmen and sophomore students participating in the Talented & Gifted Program at the high school are also invited to enroll in college courses. Students who have difficulty in passing the ASSET test are coached in remedial courses to help them succeed in testing.

Jurrens noted, “Our goal at the high school is to have every student earn some college credit before they graduate. On the day of commencement, the average graduate will have 16 and a half college credits.”

With the rising cost of a college education, the dual enrollment program has been a boon to families of high school students. Enrollment in college classes doesn’t cost the student’s family anything–Emmetsburg High School picks up the tuition and textbooks.

“With current tuition rates, it figures out to be about a $1,600 scholarship,” explained Jurrens. “We are really seeing the benefits to the students and families.”