NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Why are high school students choosing dual enrollment at NECC?

High school students in Newburyport, and other local communities, are now taking dual enrollment classes at Northern Essex Community College, however, they all seem to be doing it for different reasons, paving the way for their future. Whether it is to prepare, save money, stand out, or explore interests, becoming a dual enrollment student has its benefits, with minimal downsides, they say.

Some students say their goal at NECC is to learn about their passions and further their understanding in different subjects.

Take Newburyport Junior, Olivia Hansen, as an example. Hansen is currently taking biology focused classes (she wants to major in biology at her four year college) laying the foundation for future education and interests.

“I wanted to take some biology classes at NECC because I thought that it would allow me to explore that subject a little more to make sure it is what I want to do with my future. As a high schooler, I was also able to go beyond the classes my school offered and learn about something that interests me.” NECC offers courses that Newburyport High doesn’t.

Hansen is currently enrolled in classes like marine biology and general ecology, something she can’t take in high school. She is currently looking to major in biology on the pre-med track in college, where she can hopefully transfer her NECC credits.

Other students, such as Newburyport Junior Cassidy Smith, are enrolled in the dual enrollment program to earn their associate’s degree before her high school graduation. Smith, pursuing nursing school, wants to gain credits now, and save money on her future classes. “I wanted to get my associate’s degree so I would have a notch under my belt for hopefully getting into a good nursing program. I also want to save money; community college credits are much cheaper and more affordable, but I am still getting an education.”

By earning her degree before her high school graduation, Smith will stand out to four year colleges for her extra efforts in her studies. Based on their website, NECC credits, on average, cost $245, whereas other colleges on average cost $636, said Education Data.

Smith, as well as other dual enrollment students are getting certain credits done at NECC, saving them tons of money in their future educational careers.

Finally, Junior Gianna Mckeown is taking NECC classes to see what she is interested in, and what she might like to major in when she goes to a four year college. Mckeown said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in college or what she was interested in, so she is using the dual enrollment program to find out. “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I am testing out classes at NECC, so I can see if there is anything I am interested in. This semester I am taking an accounting class. I am really interested in it. I might consider it as a career path now that I have had a chance to explore it.”

Mckeown has a busy schedule at her high school, leaving her with little time to explore her interests in the school day. Taking asynchronous classes, such as accounting, has allowed her to have time and means to learn about new areas on her own time.

Becoming a dual enrollment student, for all its perks, has very limited cons, these students say.

According to Hansen, Smith, and Mckeown, the only con of being a dual enrollment student is that it brings extra work on top of their average school load.

However, the girls are clearly very motivated and passionate about their education, making it all worth it. Early college is a program where high schoolers get to go above and beyond.

These girls, along with many others, have taken advantage of this program, advancing their educational careers. The consensus amongst the three was that early college is the way to go; it saves money, time, allows for exploration, standing out, and many other advantages.

As Hansen said, “becoming a dual enrollment student was the best decision I have ever made in my academic career.”