The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 9, 2013

St. James students get a jump on college classes at high school



MSU classes are held during the regular school day, intermixed with high school classes throughout the day. Classes offered include College Psychology, English 101, English 110, College Algebra, College Geography and College Speech, among others.

Students have the option of completing up to 28 college credits, which can transfer to a number of colleges and universities, Simon said. That can save families and students thousands of dollars in college tuition costs.

“It’s a huge deal,” said Hurley, who is taking several more college courses this year. “My parents are going to be helping me with some of it, but overall, I’m going to be paying for my own education. Every little bit helps.”

Simon said the program is most popular with seniors.

“They’re thinking about college a little more as a senior, of course,” he said.

Statistics show that Latina and Latino students in the U.S. are less likely to go to a college or university. And Simon thinks, with St. James’ high Latina/Latino population, the dual enrollment option is encouraging more minority students to take college classes.

“One of the things we’ve put a focus on is making sure all of our students — Caucasian, Hispanic, Latino, etc. — are looking past high school,” Simon said. “And when we say post-secondary, that doesn’t necessarily mean a four-year university.”

For students considering technical colleges or trade schools, the high school also offers “articulation agreements,” which allow credits for certain high school courses, such as agronomy or plant science for example, to transfer to those schools depending upon the field of study.

Hurley does plan to matriculate to a four-year university. She’s planning on attending Winona State University in the fall. When she gets there, she’ll have a number of her general education requirements completed, including College Geography, Intro to Social Welfare, College Psychology, College Spanish, a couple of English classes and College Sociology.

She’ll also have a good idea of the work load involved in being a college freshman.

“I thought it was a good idea because college is going to be stressful,” she said. “They expect more out of you.”

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