College in High School Allows Students to Earn College Credits

BRADFORD, Pa. — Hundreds of students in the region are getting a jump on college material and making a small dent in the cost of college through the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford’s College in the High School program.

College in the High School trains teachers who have at least a master’s or equivalent degree to teach freshman college courses in their schools.

Students pay $125 per class, a 92 percent discount, said James Baldwin, director of enrollment services at Pitt-Bradford. Baldwin supervised the program from its inception in 2005-06 through the 2009-10 school year. Its current director is Dr. Lauren Yaich, associate dean of academic affairs.

Shannon Reese, a teacher at Bradford Area High School, began teaching for the program this year, offering calculus for four credits to BAHS seniors. This is BAHS’s first year in the program.

Watching Reese greet her afternoon class, it’s easy to see an advantage to College in the High School beyond earning college credits at a lower cost: familiarity. Students in Reese’s class maintain a typical high school student-teacher relationship with her, with a few jokes and an extra minute to settle down, while still tackling college-level work.

Reese is able to spread a semester’s worth of work into a year and make sure that students are following the work she writes on the board for them, taking small breaks to make sure they are setting their problems up correctly.

Unlike the Advanced Placement exam, which requires that students make a final score on an AP test at the end of the semester or year, College in the High School students follow the same syllabus as the students at Pitt-Bradford, cover the same material and take the same final exam.

Usually, Reese explains, she gets a little further than the college syllabus takes students in Calc. I, giving students a leg up on classes their freshman year.

“It gets kids a little farther ahead,” she said. “The program works very well, and the students and administrators love it.”

The first courses Pitt-Bradford introduced in high schools were computer science and communications, but the offerings have expanded to include French, English, physics, art, Spanish, management, mathematics, biology and health.

The program has continued to grow over the years from 43 students enrolled in 2007-08 to more than 242 this academic year. Districts that participate now include Otto-Eldred, Cameron County, Oswayo Valley, Smethport Area, Austin Area, Galeton Area and Northern Potter.

Baldwin said that students who have earned credits through College in the High School have had few problems getting the credits to transfer. The only exceptions, he noted, have been military academies and Ivy League schools.

Students who arrive at college with a few credits already under their belt have more confidence about their ability to do college-level work, he said, and more free credits to pursue a double major or other courses.

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