High School in a College


Image via Donna DeBacco

Madison Stone wearing an Arapahoe Community College sweater on April 13, 2018.

Madison Stone, Reporter

We walk the floors of your school every week, passing other students and faculty. Maybe there is a familiar face from class or perhaps a complete stranger. Each person has their own experience as a student, and this is mine.

Concurrent Enrollment is a program that allows high school students to get both high school credits and college credits. It also makes a more challenging academic experience. There are about 18,000 Arapahoe Community College students that attend annually and 4,000 Concurrent Enrollment students.

From the chart below, ACC has the largest Concurrent Enrollment student population. Most Concurrent Enrollment students take the college courses at their high school, but I started taking ACC classes on the ACC campus when I was a sophomore in high school.

Institutions of higher education in Colorado’s two-year universities for 2016-2017.

Howard Fukaye, the Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach has witnessed the Concurrent Enrollment Department at ACC become what it is today. He explained, “the Concurrent Enrollment Department has really developed the past few years. Before the department was structured, Concurrent Enrollment was just for juniors and seniors in high school. Now, they have allowed it so they can start as sophomores or freshmen, it is really up to the student.”

I am not a typical community college student because I am still in high school. Nor am I a typical high school student because I go to a community college.

I was strictly home-schooled from kindergarten to freshman year of high school. My older brother started taking classes at ACC through Concurrent Enrollment in 2014, since I was still in middle school through my freshman year.

Being the social butterfly I am, my mother asked me if I wanted to go to public high school or take college courses at the high school. Although I wanted to go to high school and experience the “typical” high school life, I knew that the academic advantage I would gain as a college student would be more beneficial to my future.

As far as the “typical” high school experience goes, I am glad I’ve avoided some of it. After talking with some high school students, part of their high school experience is constant stress. Some said they stress about getting good grades, GPA and extracurricular activities, others said fitting in and finding yourself.

When I first started at ACC, I felt the stress of getting good grades. I wanted to prove to myself that I was going to thrive. I am still proving that to myself. The stress of my GPA creeps up on me sometimes but that is in my hands. I get the grades and put in the work. No excuses.

As my high school years are coming to a close, I have been more appreciative of ACC. The college credits that I already have give me an advantage. Since I’ve started taking general transfer classes, when I go to a university I can avoid the majority of general study classes, jump in as a junior and complete my degree in two years.

My oldest brother Mitchell, graduated high school with his associate degree, and this year he is getting a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Science at 20-years-old. He has been the one person who understands what I experience at ACC

In a sense, I do miss out on some of the iconic high school moments, like being part of high school clubs or having high school pride. I do play soccer for a high school and I have gone to school footballs games and school dances, but it really isn’t the same experience as it would be if I were sitting in the same classes or having lunch with other students. I still have a good time attending these events, but I do lack some of the school pride.

I have been lucky enough to be a high school student and a college student. I have been able to experience events in high school while obtaining a better education through college. My academic experience has helped me become the person I am today. It has taught me discipline, accountability, and ownership. It has prepared me for wherever I will go next.