Lydia Stanley, 17, of Owings, works on her form under the watchful eyes of CSM WFA Assistant Director Judith Ferrara at the Wellness, Fitness and Aquatic Center on the Leonardtown Campus. Stanley was dual enrolled as a homeschooled student and a student CSM taking courses at the Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campuses.
LA PLATA, Md.—Becky McCord, 17, of Waldorf, is happy to divide her time between two very different worlds: high school and college. At North Point High School, McCord is enjoying the excitement of being a senior while taking three advanced placement (AP) courses and at the College of Southern Maryland she is enjoying the challenges of being a college freshman while taking two courses at the La Plata Campus.
"The Dual Enrollment Program at CSM is a great opportunity and the best decision I made as a high school senior," McCord said.
With the goal to pursue a bachelor's degree in international business marketing at Virginia Tech University, McCord feels she is "way ahead" of many students because transferring her CSM courses, combined with course credit for high school AP classes, will allow her to enroll at near sophomore status, she said.
Through the Dual Enrollment Program, CSM gives area high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to simultaneously earn college credit-with up to a 50 percent reduction-that may also count as credit toward a high school diploma.
The cost savings is important to McCord and her family because she is a triplet with a sister Bobbie and a brother Billy, both of whom took credit courses at CSM over the summer.
"Dual enrollment gives students the opportunity to successfully transition from their high school environment to a college campus," said CSM Admissions Director Brian Hammond. "Not only are students getting a head start on college, national studies show that dual enrolled students are better prepared academically for college and achieve a higher GPA when they attend full time."
Becky McCord learned of the dual enrollment program in her junior year and, along with her parents, felt that being in class with other college students would allow her a greater challenge than rigorous AP courses with her high school peers, she said.
"I don't regret my [dual enrollment] decision even though sometimes there is a crazy workload," she said describing a recent 20-page paper with nearly 20 pages of appendices. "I have learned that I enjoy the challenges of college."
Transferability of CSM courses to meet high school graduation requirements varies by county and students should confirm their eligibility through their high school guidance counselor. Students in area homeschool programs also benefit from dual enrollment at CSM.
Lydia Stanley, 17, of Owings is a homeschool student and the third in her family to enter CSM's dual enrollment program. The middle child of five, Stanley follows her older sisters Becca, who received an associate degree in pre-dental hygiene from CSM and later earned a bachelor's in dental hygiene from University of Maryland Baltimore, and Hannah, who transferred her CSM credits to Shenandoah University where she is studying to become an occupational therapist.
Lydia Stanley was enrolled as a general studies major, taking communication and science
courses until she took Wellness, Fitness and Aquatics (WFA) 1701 with WFA Assistant Director Judith Ferrara at the Leonardtown Campus.
"The class inspired me to go into the Exercise and Sports Science program. I enjoy setting personal fitness goals and I want to help people lead healthier lives and reach their fitness goals, too," she said.
Now in her third semester, Lydia Stanley said she enjoys the independence and personal responsibility that comes with college.
"I enjoy coming to CSM where the professors encourage you to do your best and where I can pursue my own interests," said Lydia Stanley.
A growing trend in education has more and more high school juniors and seniors moving to start their collegiate academic pursuits at their local community college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 82 percent of U.S. public high schools reported that students were enrolled in a dual-credit course in the 2010-11 academic year which totals about 1.4 million students taking two million courses, representing a 75 percent increase in students since 2002. According to the Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC), each semester more than 4,000 Maryland currently enrolled high school students attend a community college to earn college credit.
According to a study in the Research in Higher Education Journal, students who participated in dual enrollment, on average, performed better in college than students who did not participate in dual enrollment. The benefits of dual enrollment are not relegated solely to students with college-educated parents, since first-generation students also benefit from dual enrollment, the study concluded.
"For Southern Maryland students who have maintained a 2.50 grade point average, and who have completed the 10th grade, dual enrollment is a good option for them," Hammond said. "Students have a great opportunity to earn valuable college credit now, and to complete a degree in less time when they do graduate from high school."
They also have the opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects, such as the Western art history and sociology courses that McCord has registered for this spring.
For information on requirements and deadline to enroll, visit www.csmd.edu/Admissions/DualEnrollment.html or contact a CSM enrollment advisor at 301-934-7765 or 301-934-2251.
For information on admission options for high school students, visit www.csmd.edu/Admissions/category/Special/FAQs.html.