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Dual Credit Program offers students free college courses
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 • Posted January 27, 2009

Blanco High School juniors and seniors can now graduate with one year of college credit under their belts. Courses are free or very low cost, compliments of Austin Community College, ACC, and Blanco High School, BHS.

"Blanco High School works in conjunction with ACC to give students the opportunity to accumulate up to a year of college credit hours before they graduate," BHS Principal Dustin Barton said.

These courses are dual credit, meaning students are concurrently fulfilling high school and college course requirements. For a course to count for both high school and college credit, it must be a college course that is equivalent to a required or elective high school course. For example, English Composition I and English Composition II equal English IV.

Not all courses will qualify, and a select few are offered at the BHS campus, depending on instructor availability. Courses such as Health and Speech, possible Psychology or Sociology may be offered for juniors, with Eng. Comp. I and Physics offered for seniors. Students have a myriad of course selections which will transfer to many universities, but they are cautioned not to take major-specific courses and just stick with the basics.

Students may take courses during the summer at any ACC campus, like The Pinnacle in Oak Hill, for a $40 fee per course, or take courses offered at BHS during the regular school day. Courses may also be taken free at Fredericksburg High School during the summer, or as night classes in addition to a regular school day.

Student who have completed tenth grade are eligible to participate in Dual Credit Courses, otherwise known to ACC as Early College Start, but there are several steps they must take. The first is to complete an online application and ending each semester with online or over-the-phone registration, so the sooner a student gets started, the smoother the process will be.

A representative from ACC as well as BHS Counselor Michelle Skillman, will meet with and advise participating students to make sure they're taking advantage of the opportunity in the best order and correct course level for them.

Students must take an ASSET test to determine what academic level they're on. The ACC representative urged parents to sell the test to their teens as a good test that insures they won't take any courses that would be too hard or overwhelming for them. The test will be administered at BHS during the school day Wednesday, February 11. Sign up for the free test is in the BHS office.

For more information, contact Ms. Skillman at 830-833-4337.

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