His experience: Preston was excited to take a dual-credit emergency medical technician class.
“That’s all I have been looking forward to since freshman year,” said Preston, who marvels that it’s a program offered in high school.
Last year, all of his classes except student government were dual credit. The workload was brutal. Preston averaged about seven hours of homework a night but said it was worth it.
Even if the credits don’t transfer as core classes at a university, he said, “at least I’ll have electives out of the way.” And even if he has to retake some classes in college, he’ll already have an introduction to the topics.
Preston's workload was easy his freshman and sophomore years, so taking dual credits was intimating at first. “I was definitely worried.”
He took his first dual-credit class — health occupations — as a sophomore. After he got through the first quarter, he realized it was possible to do well in college-level classes.
Many dual-credit classes run for a full school year — twice as long as CSI’s semester schedule.
“You definitely have more time to grasp the concepts,” said Preston, who wants to become an endocrinologist.
Education: These twin sisters graduated from Jerome High School in 2016 and are freshmen at College of Idaho in Caldwell.
Their experience: Abigail and Kathryn are both on the college’s cross-country team.
Kathryn, studying health science, hopes to go to medical school. She’s working to narrow down specialty options but leans toward anesthesiology.
Abigail, majoring in history and minoring in religious studies, creative writing and education, is debating whether to become a history teacher or an archaeologist.
Each took four dual-credit classes in high school: chemistry, government and two English classes.
“As soon as sophomore year, my mom mentioned about taking dual-credit classes,” Abigail said, so she looked into it. “It was a lot easier making the transition from high school to college.”
Dual credit, she said, didn't add much to her homework load.
Abigail also liked having some general classes out of the way so she could focus on her major. The private college she chose, however, counted some of her dual-credit classes as electives instead of core classes.
“I think people should think about taking dual credit,” she said. “It helps when you get to college. Overall, I think it was a good thing to take as a high school student.”
Kathryn said dual-credit classes require more studying on your own — especially if you’re taking an online class.
“I just felt that it was — both looking at the academic point and financial part of it as well — smart to take the dual credits and at least get a little bit of college courses out of the way,” Kathryn said.
Education: Kimberly High School, graduated in 2014. At Boise State University, she’s working toward a bachelor’s degree in biology and pre-medical studies, and a minor in psychology; she plans to graduate in December 2018.
Her experience: When Schroeder left Kimberly High, she already had an associate’s degree from the College of Southern Idaho — thanks in part to dual-credit classes. But she doesn't plan to graduate early from college, due to transferring schools, switching her major and retaking classes.
After graduation, she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“I decided to retake some of the core classes there because I felt like I wanted a better understanding,” she said.
Schroeder studied psychology but changed her major. She took a semester off and transferred to BSU.
Having general education classes out of the way, though, was beneficial, she said. “In a way, it helped me dive into my major and helped me figure things out."
In high school, “I didn’t have any electives or fun classes,” Schroeder said, except for the minimum number needed to stay active with FFA and Business Professionals of America.
“Other than that, I just took a lot of core classes," she said. "It was kind of hard because it was hard to study and balance those out.”
Both of Schroeder's parents are educators and pushed her to take advanced classes.
In middle school, she took math classes one grade level ahead. Her first dual credit was pre-calculus as a sophomore. Then she decided to pursue an associate degree at CSI to take advantage of lower community college tuition.
“I’m really glad I did it,” Schroeder said. “I really feel like it helped me to prepare me for what college would be like. It was nice to jump right into my major.”
Education: Kimberly High School, graduated in 2010; University of Idaho, 2014 degrees in accounting and operations management.
Occupation: Process methods analyst for Boeing in Renton, Wash.
His experience: When Novacek decided to take college-level classes in high school, he felt prepared.
“I just kind of wanted to challenge myself a little bit more,” he said. Plus, he added, CSI offers low-cost credits for high schoolers. Novacek wanted to save money and get “not-so-exciting classes out of the way."
He accumulated 22 college credits by the time he left Kimberly High. He went into the U of I as an engineering student but switched to business and earned two degrees.
“The dual-credit program — especially at Kimberly — helped me get a good start on my college career,” Novacek said. “It allowed me to find exactly what I wanted to do.”
Another benefit: It gave his college GPA a boost. He graduated cum laude.
“If you really apply yourself in dual-credit classes," he said, "it's pretty easy to get good grades.”
Education: Oakley High School, graduated in 2012; associate degree in liberal arts from College of Southern Idaho; graduated in spring 2016 from CSI’s medical assistant program.
“My degree covers the administrative role as well as clinical,” Bedke said.
Occupation: Certified medical assistant at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Twin Falls.
Her experience: Bedke didn’t take dual credit until her junior year at Oakley High. She regrets waiting to get started.
It was “very beneficial and convenient to have those done,” she said, and a relief to have a few college classes under her belt. “If I could go back and take them all throughout high school, I would have.”
Her advice for high schoolers: If you’re going to take a dual-credit class, be serious about it. Be motivated.
“Take the time to do a good job,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”