College Transition Program

Cowan Students Preview the Rigors of College

Parallel paths through high school and dual credit experiences may be leading Berkley Koger and Courtney Thomas to the same college and the same major.
If Berkley Koger and Courtney Thomas seem to be a few steps ahead of other freshmen on campus next year, they can look back and thank Ball State University’s High School-to-College Transition Program, more commonly known as dual credit.

As upperclassmen at Cowan High School near Muncie, Koger and Thomas took dual credit English classes, fulfilling high school requirements and earning college credits at the same time.

Ball State’s dual credit program allows students to take courses on site with teachers from their high school who are certified to teach at the university level. Or they can take courses online that are taught by Ball State faculty.

Dual credit courses offer high school juniors and seniors a preview of the rigors of the college curriculum.

“Dual credit can help you transition into upper-level high school classes and then into college work,” says Thomas, a senior.

According to James Hendrix, assistant director of online and distance education at Ball State, the program shows students how to study for college-level courses while giving them the confidence to succeed in a university environment.

“Research shows that students who leave high school with college credit are more likely to pursue, and finish, a bachelor’s degree,” says Hendrix. “There’s definitely a confidence factor.”

Koger, also a senior, agrees: “I know if I can handle dual credit classes, then I can handle college classes.”

Thomas is convinced the English classes helped improve her writing and analytical skills.

“The rigors of the courses give students the opportunity to push themselves to their limit, evaluate their skills and aspirations, and get ahead in their educational careers,” she says.

Dual credit students can take up to 15 semester hours of concurrent enrollment and choose from more than 40 courses, including anthropology, calculus, information systems, journalism, management, political science, psychology, and, of course, English.

“English was a challenging course but the satisfying feeling of accomplishment was extremely rewarding,” says Koger. “The class taught me valuable skills that I will be able to use in my career.”

Student leaders at Cowan, Koger and Thomas have been on parallel paths through high school.

In addition to taking dual credit together, both are interested in the communication field and both plan to attend Ball State. After they attended a leadership conference together last year, Koger and Thomas decided to organize a new Cowan club which would match high school students with junior high students in need of mentoring and tutoring. Known as the Tribe, the club has grown to include 60 students.

“We just wanted to help our high school,” says Koger.

Ball State is one of only a few preferred providers approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Most dual credit courses can be transferred to other institutions inside and outside of Indiana.

Thomas gives the program full approval. “Undoubtedly, it’s an opportunity that all motivated students should take advantage of,” she says.