Earning College Credit in High School: Dual credit courses are the ‘difference maker’ Featured in the Friends Spring 2019 Issue

Friday March 1, 2019
Earning College Credit in High School: Dual credit courses are the ‘difference maker’ "The courses helped me learn much more about the health care field and what I want to do in the future." - Austin Srnka, senior at Kewaunee High School, referring to his dual credit courses

Austin Srnka, a senior at Kewaunee High School, is a young man with a solid plan for his future. After graduating in spring, he intends to become a nurse.

Srnka discovered his affinity for health care last year when he took Medical Terminology, a three-credit NWTC class offered at his high school for free and taught by one of his own high school teachers, Jackie Piontek. Motivated by his experience, Srnka soon enrolled in other dual credit courses – enabling him to earn both high school and college credit for each course.

“The courses helped me learn much more about the health care field and what I want to do in the future,” Srnka said. 

“It’s a great opportunity for our students,” Piontek added. “They can go into, explore, and see if that career pathway is truly something they are interested in, and then if it is, can start earning some credits toward their career while still in high school.”

Alison Smidt is another senior making great strides on her college and career goals. At Algoma High School, Smidt has taken several dual credit classes, including Blueprint Reading and Intro to G Code. She plans to transfer her credits into NWTC’s CNC Machinist program.

She looks forward to a promising future in the growing machining industry. “There’s a need for people,” Smidt said. “I found out I’m very interested in it, and now I’m excited because I’m almost guaranteed a job after college.”

Srnka and Smidt are just two of the hundreds of high school students taking dual credit classes and potentially saving thousands of dollars in college tuition. The early college opportunities are made possible through TECHNOW collaborations – partnerships between NWTC and K12 school districts throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

Early College Opportunities Available Through TECHNOW

From offering a few dual credit classes to providing full career pathways, school districts are customizing their TECHNOW collaborations to fit their capacity and goals:
  • The majority of the region’s K-12 school districts currently offer one or more dual credit classes.
  • Some K-12 districts have strengthened their commitment to college and career readiness by building career pathways for their students.  

District administrators clearly recognize the benefits of these collaborations for their students. “This is a time in their lives when they can try new things and experience opportunities that will help ensure their success in the future,” said Karen Treml, Kewaunee High School superintendent.

“As a parent myself, dual credits are probably a difference maker for a lot of parents when they think about sending their son or daughter off to a post-secondary training,” added Nick Cochart, Algoma High School principal and superintendent. “This makes complete financial sense for the student, parent, the school. Any time we expand on that, we’re just serving our community better.”  

How to earn college credit in high school – in YOUR area!

Dual credit courses and career pathways are offered throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

Classes are free for eligible high school juniors and seniors. Your school district covers the cost of tuition, thanks to a partnership between NWTC and the school district.

Discover the opportunities available in your K12 school system. 

Learn more