Crete-Monee students who are participating in the Early College Institute at PSC.(PHOTO SUPPLIED)
Crete, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A senior at Crete-Monee High School, Cody Hock plays football, participates in track and field, and is ranked number one in his class. He is enjoying his last year as a high school student, and is looking forward to going away to college in the fall.
But, when Hock attends college next year, he won’t be a rookie. In addition to being a full-time high school student, Hock is also a student at Prairie State College (PSC). He is among 60 students from Crete-Monee High School who are part of PSC’s Early College Institute.
The Early College Institute is an academic partnership between PSC and Crete-Monee High School. It is an opportunity for high performing high school students to fulfill high school graduation requirements while earning some college credit. Students enroll in three or more classes.
“When I go off to college next year, I will have a leg up on the other college freshmen,” said Hock. “I enjoy the freedom that college offers, and I was pleasantly surprised by all the one-on-one time professors are willing to give to their students.”
The Early College Institute also is designed to give a better understanding of the college process including registration, financial aid, academic support, and college-level course rigor. They have access to college-level career development center, transfer counselors, and college academic advisors.
“This program removes some of the angst and fear for both first generation college students and their parents,” said Shawn L. Govan, dean, student services. “It gives students freedom while offering the safety net of their high school counselors.”
Kevin Marks, associate professor, mathematics, has several Crete-Monee students in his Calculus I course. He was a little apprehensive about teaching high school students at first, but he said they make the classroom experience a joyful one.
“The Crete-Monee students have turned out to be one of the best group of students I have ever had the privilege of teaching. They are not only incredibly intelligent, but they understand what it means and takes to be quality students,” said Marks. “Their brains are like sponges soaking up not only the material, but what is expected of them to succeed.”
Because of the initial success of the program, PSC hopes to expand the Early College Institute to more high school districts so even more students can have a college experience while in high school.
“The program has been successful beyond what we anticipated. Most of the success is due to the collaborative environment that PSC offers in addition to our dedication to enrollment and retention,” said Adenuga Atewologun, Ph.D., vice president, academic affairs. “We as a community college must continue to align our programs and use best practices to get students interested in college.”