Area High School Students Considered Full-Time Freshmen at Genesee Community College

College can be a big leap for some, but for more than 130 students at area high schools, it should be an easy transition. Those high school students are taking college courses with enough credits to be considered full-time freshmen at Genesee Community College. These students are getting a head start on their college careers and could potentially enter as sophomores, having completed their first year of college while still in high school.

Courtney Wassink is one such student. The Batavia High School senior has taken courses such as Cell Biology and Psychology on campus as part of the College Today program, in addition to advanced studies classes like Pre-Calculus and Spanish through her high school. She also participates in the College Tech Prep Health Careers Academy, a program that allows students to have hands-on experience with potential careers in the health industry.

“The advanced studies program, especially the Health Careers Academy, is already preparing me for college,” Courtney said. “I should be able to finish my degree in a shorter time and hopefully I’ll be more focused and handle the transition to college better.”

Wassink, who was introduced to the program through her guidance counselor, enjoys the challenge of taking college-level courses, especially ones that are taught directly on campus. Courtney’s involvement in the Health Careers Academy, which she learned about through some older classmates who also participated in the program, has been a positive and eye-opening experience for her.

“The Health Careers Academy is great if you are interested in a related career,” she said. Courtney plans to pursue a career as a respiratory therapist, possibly specializing in infant care. “Not only do you get a head-start on college, but you get a good idea of what a job in that field entails, with so many job-shadowing and internship experiences. That will help me choose the right courses and major in college.”

Wassink plans to attend Genesee Community College and then transfer to a four-year institution to complete her degree, possibly the University of Rochester. “I love the advanced studies program,” Courtney said. “It was a good decision to take these classes now. I’m so glad I did it.”

Attica High School guidance counselors Julia Schrader and Marybeth Hardie are advocates for Genesee Community College’s Advanced Studies program. “I try to alert all of my top students to this excellent opportunity,” Ms. Hardie said. “The advanced English class in particular has gotten great feedback from prior students because it develops writing skills that they find essential for college-level work.”

The counselors’ enthusiasm for the Advanced Studies program has rubbed off on Attica’s students. The school has the highest participation rate of any school involved in the program, with 20 students enrolled this year.

“I think our success with this program comes from our teachers, who are doing a great job, and from the reputation the program has. We have older students who have had a good experience and pass that along to other students,” Ms. Hardie said.

Chelsea Reynolds is one Attica High School senior who is currently taking four Advanced Studies classes: English, Sociology, Calculus, and Principles of Business. Chelsea, who plans to major in Business Administration, is looking forward to continuing her studies at Genesee Community College after graduation. Once she has completed her Associate’s Degree, she plans to transfer to SUNY Brockport to continue her education.

“I hope that by taking all of these college courses this year that it won’t be so overwhelming when I get to college,” Chelsea said. “It should give me a good head start on my career.”

More than forty school districts participate in Genesee Community College’s Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) programs. The program consists of Advanced Studies, College Today, and College Tech Prep. Genesee Community College courses offered through the Advanced Studies Program are taught in the high schools by high school faculty who are approved by the College. The College Today classes were developed to give high school seniors an opportunity to pursue college credit-bearing classes in the campus setting. The College Tech Prep program incorporates both school and work-based instruction in a comprehensive and non-repetitive curriculum.

Students who participate in Genesee Community College’s ACE Program obtain a head start on their college career and are able to experience aspects of college life including class selection, registration, and utilizing college facilities. Additionally, ACE students pay a lower tuition rate than traditional students, typically one-third the cost of regular college tuition and will be afforded a Genesee Community College transcript detailing their completed coursework. The program challenges and motivates students with advanced coursework and provides quality instructors who have Genesee Community College adjunct status. In addition, the syllabi for advanced studies courses must be approved by College deans and instructors.

A typical course schedule for advanced studies students includes introductory courses in English, mathematics, foreign language, science, and history. Genesee Community College credits earned in these courses will transfer to SUNY colleges and most two/four year colleges and universities throughout the state and country if a student has earned a C or better in the course.

“Completion of Genesee Community College credit courses has given hundreds of students a head start on their college career,” said Kathy Lopes, Associate Dean of Accelerated College Enrollment Programs. She sees the program as having a positive effect on everyone involved. “Our program also strengthens ties between high school and college faculty,” she said.

For more information about Genesee Community College’s Accelerated College Enrollment program, contact Kathy Lopes at (585) 343-0055 x6540 or kclopes@genesee.edu.
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