Frontier High School Class of 2009
Washington State Community College Class of 2009
Deciding to enroll into a Post-Secondary Enrollment Option program can be a very difficult decision. It is a decision that will affect the rest of your life. It forces you to leave the comfortable setting of your average high school.
However, this program gives students opportunities that students who do not choose the program will never be able to experience. Yes, the others may (and hopefully will) go on to college after graduation, but, taking college courses and earning credit for both college and high school at the same time is a huge responsibility. When taking part in this responsibility, each student will grow in several different ways. You will be submerged in a diverse setting and have classes with students anywhere from your age to your grandparents ages. Don’t let this concept frighten you. I have learned so much from the nontraditional students in my classes and I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to get to know them.
Although I was afraid of missing out on the rest of my high school experience, I soon realized that entering the PSEO program was the best decision for my education. I was still able to participate in sports at my high school and I never had a scheduling conflict that interfered with practice or games. I was careful to plan my classes so that I would a) have a higher expectation of my classes transferring to my choice college and b) not interfere with activities that happen outside of normal school hours. Many students are not sure where they would like to attend college after graduating high school until their senior year. Therefore, one way to decide how to best choose the classes you would like to take is to schedule classes that are Transfer Assurance Guide (TAG) approved. This means that nearly all colleges in Ohio will accept the transferred credits. If you plan to enroll in an out-of-state college then you should check with them to see their recommendations on the classes you will take.
While attending WSCC I had the wonderful opportunity to take several different classes in one school year. In high school you generally sit in the same classrooms at the same times every day of the school year. My junior year in high school (first year at WSCC) I was able to take sixteen different classes because I had decided to attend WSCC full-time. Some classes that I enrolled in and found very beneficial were six quarters of Spanish, three English composition classes, challenging math, chemistry, and physics courses, as well as a variety of arts and humanities classes such as mythology, theatre, and film. Although most of the classes were writing-intensive, they have given me a better grip on what is to be expected from the “real world” when it comes to writing business letters, recommendation letters, and even writing good essays for scholarships. All of the classes I have taken will help me in some way or another to succeed in my future college plans.
The variety of classes you can take and programs you can enter at WSCC is extraordinary compared to the classes that are offered at many high schools. There are several art, automotive, biology, business, education, engineering, English, foreign language, health sciences, industrial, marketing, mathematics, nursing, and even recreation courses that are available to the students on a quarterly basis. Occasionally new courses are even provided depending on interest and demand.
Another good reason to do PSEO is one that I’m sure all the parents love. COLLEGE CREDIT FOR FREE. Aside from the occasional wet-book that some students have to pay for, the tuition of a PSEO student is completely free. It shocks me sometimes when students do not want to take advantage of this opportunity. In my case, for example, I graduated from Frontier High School and Washington State Community College both this year. I worked hard to keep good grades and graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts. I am transferring to Ohio University next fall where I will be continuing my education studying Multi-Age Education and Spanish. According to a few people I spoke with from OU, I will be entering junior status after my very first fall quarter. Therefore, by going PSEO I have completely knocked off 1-2 years of my post-high school education. Especially with today’s economy, you can consider that a huge financial help.
WSCC is a very friendly and comfortable place to experience your first years as a college student. The faculty is understanding and helpful in many ways. There are also programs that students can join through the college such as Student Senate, Opportunity Scholars Program, and Phi Theta Kappa. As a high school student I participated in two of those three programs and this past year I became the Vice President of Honors of the Alpha Rho Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
It was interesting to see how different the life of a college student is compared to one of a high school student. While there are many more challenges in college, being able to get some experience before going on to a larger university has definitely prepared me for what is yet to come. Attending college as a high school student has helped me mature, become more independent, and more responsible. This program was very rewarding for me and I believe it can be rewarding to any person who steps up to the challenge prepared for the worst but, in the end, experiencing the best.
Belpre High School Class of 2008
Before I decided to participate in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program, I was a little apprehensive. Doing PSEO would mean uprooting myself from my familiar, comfortable surroundings, and, moving on to a whole new school. I would have to drive to Marietta everyday from Belpre, and I would be taking harder, more stressful classes with students three years older than myself. I wouldn’t know anybody, and I would be away from a school and community where everyone knows my name.
This all seemed very daunting to me. On the one hand, I was frustrated by the lack of available classes at my high school that would help prepare me for college, but at the same time, I was scared to grow. After all, I had only been in high school for two years. However, after heavily weighing my options, I decided to go ahead and take advantage of the PSEO program. It would be hard, but I knew it was the best decision for my education.
I cannot tell you enough how relieved I am now that I made the decision to do PSEO. It was the best decision I have ever made in regards to my education. I’m sure my parents appreciated it as well. You see, if I had stayed at Belpre High School and gone to Ohio University as a freshman, I would have had to shell out an additional $18,000 in tuition, which does not even include books, fees, and other expenses.
Now I know many of you are thinking: "Will I (as a student) or will my son/daughter (as a parent) really benefit from the PSEO program ? Will the credits earned at Washington State transfer once they move on to a four-year institution? "
The answer to both of the questions is an emphatic yes. The benefits of the PSEO program stretch way beyond picking up a few college credits. While attending Washington State, my whole life changed for the better. I matured greatly, learning that there really is life after high school. I learned to become an independent person and thinker. I took responsibility for my own actions, and dealt with the consequences as a mature adult.
In addition to personal growth, Washington State offers PSEO students innumerable educational opportunities. While attending WSCC, I was able to take six quarters of Spanish, which proved both challenging and rewarding. Also, I was able to take advantage of challenging math courses offered by the college. All of these classes went at a faster pace than any high school class and the challenge was refreshing. I also took Chemistry classes while at WSCC. I found these very beneficial, especially because we had access to an excellent science lab to conduct real experiments and collect real data, something I never had the opportunity to do in high school.
The English classes were also very challenging. I took all of the composition classes as well as World Literature. All were writing-intensive, so be prepared to start writing papers every week or two. Even though it was more work than what would be done in high school, I know the experience I gained from my English classes will help me succeed in college in the future.
I also want to stress how large and varied the course selection at WSCC are. They offer numerous classes in art, business, Spanish, English, computer technology, industrial technology, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, geology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and so much more that you won’t find in high school.
Plus, it’s all free!!! Tuition and lab fees are paid! Books are free (just make sure they are returned in good condition). To make it all worthwhile, despite what high school counselors tell potential PSEO students and parents, credits from WSCC will transfer. I earned 90 credit hours from Washington State, and every last one will go towards my General Education Requirements at Ohio University. In fact, I will be considered a junior this coming school year.
Plus, with my credits earned in Spanish classes at Washington State, I need only six more classes to earn a minor in Spanish. None of this would have been possible if I had stayed in high school. You see, even when a student takes an AP class (and my school only has two), college credit is not guaranteed. This is not the case for classes that PSEO students generally take at WSCC. In fact, most of my classes fell under the Transfer Assurance Guide (TAG), which means they are guaranteed to transfer to any Ohio public educational institution.
So, if you are ready to take on the demands of college classes, I recommend that you participate in this worthwhile program. It’s worth the hassle of dealing with high school counselors.