Pictured above – McKena Young took advantage of dual enrollment while in high school.

Cookeville – Many freshmen on the campus of Tennessee Tech University took advantage of the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school thanks to the dual enrollment program.   

“The program has grown significantly in the past three years. It is an excellent opportunity for Tech to connect and get impressions with students prior to college,” Ted McWilliams, admissions counselor, said. “I believe Tech has the wherewithal to do excellent online dual enrollment classes for any student, not just those schools that we have a contractual agreement with.”

Jake Officer, a freshmen engineering technology major from Sparta, started Tech this past fall with 28 credits. Earning those credits while in high school was not without its challenges. He had to realize that college work is different from high school work. 

“I never struggled with any high school work so when I took dual enrollment chemistry and made a C on a test, that was hard to cope with at first,” Officer said. “I had to learn to study and try hard to get good grades.”

Officer came to Tech because it suited his career goals and both his parents are Tech alumni. He’s happy with that decision as he said he feels that Tech is preparing him well for his future career. 

“A lot of my classes teach skills I will need, and one class even takes us on factory tours where we could potentially work,” Officer said. 

Officer said it was very common for someone to take at least one dual enrollment at his high school, and many, like him, took multiple classes. To participate in the program, a student must be a high school junior or senior, have a 3.0 or higher grade point average, and obtain their high school counselor’s approval.

I would say everyone should take dual enrollment in high school,” Officer said. “While at Tech I have got to enjoy so many more clubs and major specific classes that I would’ve without dual enrollment simply because I had gotten almost all my general education classes out of the way in high school.”

McKena Young is another student who took advantage of dual enrollment while in high school. She is an early childhood education/special education major from Sparta, with the career track of occupational therapy.

Young actually started the University of Tennessee Chattanooga this fall with 18 credit hours. She is transferring to Tech for the Spring 2023 semester with plans to graduate in Dec. 2025.  

“I really like the big college campus in a cute smaller town. It feels like home,” Young said about transferring to Tech.  

She said the biggest challenge for her while taking dual enrollment classes was being on two different schedules. She had to make sure she got all her work turned in, showed up to class at the right building, and at the right time.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to get to have a taste of college in high school,” Young said. “I feel as if it better prepared me for college.” 

Tech has a partnership with over a dozen high schools across the state that allow students to earn college credit for specific courses taken in high school in the dual enrollment program. Cookeville High School has the highest participation with 200 students on average which has grown considerably over the past two years according to McWilliams. Other high schools range from three to 30 students participating in the dual enrollment program.  

For more information on the dual enrollment program at Tech visit https://www.tntech.edu/admissions/undergraduate/dualenrollment/index.php.

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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