First Step Program Is a Dual Jewel
Many high school seniors who graduated in June will begin college this fall ahead of their classmates, having already accumulated a number of college credit hours while still in high school.
Through First Step, a partnership between Moore County Schools and Sandhills Community College, high school students can enroll in college courses and get a jump-start on their college education, whether plans include enrollment at a four-year university or Sandhills.
The umbrella of First Step consists of two separate programs through which high school students can enroll in courses at Sandhills.
The Huskins program was created through legislation in the N.C. General Assembly, which makes it possible for students to enroll in a select group of courses at community colleges and receive college credit, and in most cases, high school credit as well.
Huskins classes at Sandhills are offered in the fall and spring semesters. Students must be enrolled in at least one regular high school class. Their college classmates will be fellow Moore County high school students.
On the other hand, dual enrollment students take courses alongside Sandhills students of all ages. They can sign up for any college level class that Sandhills offers, provided that they have met any designated prerequisites. Dual enrollment is available fall, spring, and summer. Students must be at least age 16 and enrolled in two regular high school classes to qualify for dual enrollment.
One of the most appealing benefits of the First Step program is its cost to students and their parents. All Huskins and dual enrollment courses are completely free of charge except for textbook costs and summer tuition.
When considering the current cost of tuition at a four-year university, the potential savings for Huskins or dual-enrolled students is remarkable.
High school students gain a head start on credits, potentially resulting in early college graduation and faster acceleration of career plans, whether their academic plans include an associate degree, diploma or certificate in a technical program or the pursuit of a bachelor degree.
Dual enrollment is also available to home-schooled students. Having college-level coursework on their transcripts when they graduate from high school helps to certify their competence to admissions offices at higher education institutions and may simplify the admissions process.
Fall semester begins at Sandhills on Aug. 18. For more information, contact Lauren Holland at 695-3713 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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