Josiah Stuart isn’t a typical dual enrollment student.
Many high school students take their dual enrollment classes at their regular school, which allows them to earn college credits without ever having to leave their high school campus.
But Josiah, a William Allen High School senior, rides the bus to Lehigh Carbon Community College
’s main campus in Schnecksville each morning, where he takes classes like Introduction to Microbiology and Drawing I.
Then, in the afternoon, he walks across the street to Lehigh Career and Technical Institute
, where he has been in LCTI’s carpentry program since ninth grade.
“He enjoys any kind of project. He loves to make things,” says his mom, June Stuart, who advocated for him to start taking advantage of LCCC’s dual enrollment program in Josiah’s junior year. At the time, William Allen’s class schedule didn’t provide the classes that Josiah wanted to take and still allow him to be at LCTI for half the day.
Despite being located at LCCC instead of William Allen
, Josiah’s classes count toward his high school diploma as well as for college credits. He plans to transfer those credits to a four-year school after he graduates from William Allen in May. He hasn’t selected a college yet, but he plans to study wildlife biology.
“I like science. I’m good at science. But I also like being outdoors and in nature,” Josiah says. “If you throw me outside in the woods, I’ll be occupied for at least five hours before I start getting bored … so I put those two things together and got ‘wildlife biology.’”
A Family of Dual Enrollment Students
Josiah - who admits that he “does not like math” - isn’t likely to take the Calculus III and IV classes that his older brother, Nathaniel, took at LCCC while he was still a William Allen student.
Nathaniel was awarded an LCCC associate degree during the summer after his high school graduation. He is now at Stanford University - and he encourages both Josiah and their younger sister, Ruth, to take advantage of the dual enrollment program, as well.
“The Stuart family does a great job of allowing their kids to explore their interests, and they are fully supportive of them,” says Craig Smith, the director of William Allen’s guidance department.
Ruth, who is in 10th grade at William Allen, is taking Spanish online this semester, as well as a psychology course that is typically offered every semester at William Allen because of high demand.
Opening Doors to the College Experience
LCCC’s dual enrollment program offers several ways that students can take classes - something the Stuart family has plenty of experience with. Many students still take one or two dual enrollment classes at their high schools, while others take classes in person at LCCC - some for a half-day, like Josiah, or even for a full day.
Still others take their classes online, like Ruth. This can be particularly attractive for home-school students, or students who want to enroll during the summer but need to juggle their classes with a summer job or vacation.
But because so many dual enrollment classes are offered inside high schools, many students who wouldn’t normally consider Advanced Placement or college-level courses are exposed to them, giving them a taste of the college experience.
“There’s something really satisfying, to find somebody who may not have thought they could have gone to college, and they take a dual enrollment class and they do well,” says Jennifer Aquila, the director of the dual enrollment program at LCCC. “And now all of a sudden, it changes their mindset. And they think, ‘Well, maybe I could do another one.’ That may change what their life was going to be like.”
Smith, the director of the guidance department at William Allen, agrees.
“It is gratifying when you see that student who takes the course, does very well in it, and that child didn’t expect to do as well as they did. And then a lightbulb goes off and they say, ‘I can do this. I enjoyed this.’ And they look to take another course. Or, if they’re a senior, they look to go to college, where he or she might not have pursued college after high school, had it not been for that dual enrollment course.”
Some school districts, like Allentown, cover the cost of dual enrollment tuition. But all dual enrollment students enjoy a reduced tuition rate, which is one of the biggest draws of the program.
For Josiah, he’s grateful for the broad experience that the dual enrollment program has provided, both academically and personally.
“I have experience with courses, and work, and dealing with people, and professors. So, it’s like a taste of what I’ll be going into next year.”
For more information about LCCC's dual enrollment program
, contact your school district or the director of the program at LCCC, Jennifer Aquila, at 610-799-1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.