WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - A lecture, essay assignments, and tests are all typical things that go on in a college classroom.
But some of the students at the Career Education Center doing college level work are as young as 16. Many of them do not even have their driver’s licenses yet.
They are able to ride the bus from their home campuses – Rider, Wichita Falls and Hirschi High Schools – to take part in the classes Vernon College holds at the Career Education Center (CEC).
Juniors like and Atlea Cooke and Marilee Albus are taking advantage of the opportunity because they both have big plans.
“I want to be a child psychologist," said Albus. "I’ve always wanted to know more about that and help people.”
Cooke said “I either want to be an RN or an orthodontist because I had the best orthodontist. He was just so sweet, and I would really love doing that for people."
But before they can start their careers, they have to get their college degrees. It is why they are taking dual credit, which they say can help them become sophomores in college before they even cross the stage to graduate high school.
Their instructor John Schreiber said one reason he is teaching in the program is because he finds the concept interesting.
“It’s a good middle ground," Schreiber said. "This idea that we go to them, we find ways to work our schedule in it gives them the opportunity that they need and the opportunity that we want to give them.”
The dual credit program gives Wichita Falls ISD the ability to show just how well they are preparing kids to make that next step; and it helps students have a smoother transition after high school.
Vernon College’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Chair, Greg Fowler said, “We maintain a lot of them at Vernon College. They’re familiar with our processes and they already have our transcript. Others go to Texas Tech or University of Texas or Midwestern.”
The program is also much easier on parents’ wallets.
Albus said “My mom, she was so excited when she found out about dual credit. She was like 'Oh it’s a hundred dollars a semester! Better than thousands of dollars a semester.’ It’s going to definitely save a lot of money down the road."
Vernon College currently teaches dual credit courses to nearly 300 students in WFISD, including at Wichita Falls High School and Rider High School. They hope to offer more classes next fall.