Beginning this year, Burrell High School students will have the chance to get a head start on their college career.
The school has partnered with Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) to offer 18 courses that will transfer to college credits if the student passes with a C or higher. Classes are available in a wide variety of subjects, including computer information technology, web design, language arts, and more. Two AP classes also qualify for the program, meaning students can earn dual college credit.
"A lot of this is designed to get kids moving toward an associate’s degree,” said Dr. John Boylan, Principal at Burrell High School. "This program gives them confidence so they know they can do the work. Then, if they want to go on to WCCC or a four-year school, they (WCCC) have articulation agreements with most schools across Pennsylvania, so there shouldn’t be issues with students not getting credit."
Students will have to pay $49 a credit — or $147 per course — to qualify for the college credit. Some students may qualify for assistance if they are part of the free and reduced lunch program at school.
Rather than attending class at WCCC, students will be taught at the high school. To qualify, a class will be taught by a teacher with a master's degree and five years of teaching experience and the syllabus will meet collegiate-level standards as determined by WCCC.
This is the first year the program has been offered, and the response has been overwhelming.
"Our kids and their families are excited," said Dr. Boylan. "We have a stack of applications."
Those applications will be reviewed by WCCC come September when college staff will finalize which students are accepted into the program. With proper schedule planning, Dr. Boylan noted that students could get close to a year of college under their belt — saving both time and money.