Multiple students finish high school early to continue their education at the next level
She looks like a junior, she talks like a junior, but is she a junior? Yes and no.
Junior Allie Lentz is one of UAHS’ early graduates this year. Lentz has prepared her schedule so that she will receive her high school diploma a year earlier than the rest of her 2015 classmates in order to get ahead in her plans for a career in fashion.
Today students are given three ways to receive their diploma a year earlier than the rest of their class: Post Secondary option(PSEO), Dual Enrollment, or a graduating early plan.
With Dual Enrollment not yet an option at UAHS and PSEO not the direction she wanted to take with her education, Lentz simply loaded her schedule in order to graduate as a junior.
“I hadn’t really heard about graduating early from anyone,” Lentz said. “It is just something that I really wanted, so I went and talked to my counselor and we figured everything out.”
Lentz was not the only student to take advantage of one of the early graduate programs, senior/freshman at OSU Naomi Benatar has participated in the PSEO option at OSU. PSEO allowed her to take district paid classes at OSU and any other surrounding colleges. So far Benatar has enjoyed the program.
“Taking classes at OSU this year gave me a huge advantage in that I got to get used to a college lifestyle and learning environment and classes while I still had my support system right around me,” Benatar said.“Now, when I get on campus next year, while everyone else is nervous and a little worried, I will have already had a foot in the door so I can just slide right into just another school year.”
Between AP classes and OSU classes, Benatar has managed to complete her first year of college as a senior. Benatar began planning for this schedule change during her sophomore year to make sure she could complete her senior requirements of a Language Arts and government class along with Capstone.
While this was a lot of work for Benatar, she believes she made the right decision.
“The rigid schedule and mostly pre-planned classes of high school was just not conducive to my personality and learning style,” Benatar said. “ I always wished that teachers would give me the whole week’s homework and let me do it when it was most convenient for me rather than giving me a little bit of it each night. That is how college works.”
While Benatar’s experience in the program has been positive, guidance counselor Heather Peebles warns students about the negative effects of being a part of two campuses in the PSEO program.
“I’ve heard [students] say they feel disconnected because they are on campus half the day and then the high school half the day,” Peebles said. “They might miss announcements, things coming up in their government class, so they have to be a little more diligent about talking to their counselors and their friends about [what they missed].”
Peebles has always been an advocate for finding the best academic track for students, however, she has personally favored students exhausting the curriculum at the high school.
“[UAHS] offers a lot of AP and IB courses and what we have heard from colleges is that they like to see that students have exhausted their high school curriculum first,” Peebles said.
Although with all preferences aside, Peebles continues to look for students who would thrive in any of these two programs. And now with many other schools already providing Dual Enrollment as an academic option for students, Peebles expects to see it come to UAHS in the near future.
“What [the guidance counselors are investigating] now is how to get dual enrollment and how to make it work for our students,” Peebles said. “[The guidance counselors] have been looking into [adding Dual Enrollment] the past couple years and I think in the next few [years] we will see [Dual Enrollment] come to [UAHS].”
Photo courtesy: Ohio University