Several Holmen High School seniors know a thing or two about college already, even though none of them have even graduated high school.
Depending on the course at Holmen, any one of them could be learning how to write a business plan, learning accounting principles, or organizing a school function. Whatever it is, they feel prepared they are entering college with a good idea of what it will be like.
“Especially with what we’re learning, specifically the amount of work we are expected to do, it teaches us how to manage our time in college,” said student Malorie Olson. “The task is on you.”
Olson is enrolled in a variety of marketing and business classes at Holmen, which are considered dual credit classes at Western Technical College.
“High school teachers are certified to teach the courses based on educational credentials, professional experiences, and yearly training with Western faculty,” said Tyler Ludeking, K-12 Relations specialist at Western. “Once a student passes their high school course, it’s placed on a student’s Western transcript, earning them college credit for free.”
According to statistics from 2017-18, Western has 210 dual credit agreements with 27 area high schools. In total, 49 courses are currently offered as dual credit in Western’s district, with 95 high school teachers participating in the program.
Last year, 2,357 students were served in the region, which has saved students over one million dollars. According to Ludeking, the savings are often a win-win for the student and Western.
“Often times students realize how much quicker it might be for them to obtain a certificate, technical diploma, or associate’s degree by finishing a program at Western with the credits that they have already earned in their high school,” said Ludeking. “It also creates a close bond between high school teachers and Western instructors, which in turn often results in high school teachers speaking very highly of our programs and institution.”
Regardless if a student attends Western, Ludeking says the benefits go beyond the college’s enrollment.
“We are always willing to support our K-12 partners even if it means not attending Western and still earning dual credit,” said Ludeking. “Providing this opportunity is something we will offer to ensure student success in our community.”
Ludeking says the program continues to expand, with more school districts looking to add dual credit options in the future.
Olson will earn several college credits in high school, and while she isn’t attending Western next fall, she is thankful for the opportunity to get a head start in college.
“These are credits we don’t have to pay for,” said Olson. “It’s putting us ahead when we get to college.”