While many students are suffering from academic setbacks during Covid-19, some young people in our community have figured out a way to make even greater progress than before. Esperanza Cyber Charter School (ECCS) is just one local school helping students move forward. ECCS has partnered with Esperanza College of Eastern University (ECEU) to offer dual enrollment classes that count for both high school and college credit. Every dual enrollment course is free and earns three to four credits towards a college degree.
Cristina Stephenson, a senior at ECCS, came from a traditional school and overcame the challenges of transitioning into a virtual format. She states that the program required her to be self-sufficient and dedicate more time to study independently. Adding college courses once a week to her schedule was difficult. Despite being a very rigorous program, there are many benefits: Students like Cristina can have the experience of being a college student, learning how to handle the changes and new challenges other students do not experience until after they graduate from high school. This program also helps Cristina save on her tuition since she earns college credits for free. By joining this program and taking courses that meet college “general education” requirements, students can progress faster, focusing more time on their major. courses and even potentially graduating earlier than others. Cristina has appreciated being able to take advantage of this opportunity to cut the cost of her college tuition.
Cristina states, “A piece of advice I will give to students interested in this program is always to stay positive and not overwhelm yourself. Be respectful to the staff and professors and reach out for help when you need it.” After high school, Cristina wants to attend college and law school, to become a lawyer and help families. Many students can benefit from dual enrollment programs and avoid the setbacks of Covid-19 to their education.