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Students fast track success with early Associate's

MON.| 04-05-21 | FEATURES

     Students have begun taking a career oriented initiative while still being in high school. Earning an associates degree from Pitt Community College (PCC) through programs such as Dual-Enrollment, the Tech Academy, Career and College Promise and the Early College has allowed certain Rose students to get a jump start on their future. Rose staff members have assisted in the development of these programs alongside PCC to make it accessible for all Rose students to partake in these opportunities. 

     “I have recently started to have a career plan with the freshman now and incoming freshman which is a four year career plan to help students decide on career pathways,” career development coordinator Fran Green said. “Through a Canvas career development site students can do interest surveys and reality checks to understand this is the life I want and the way I want to live it and what career they want to pursue.”

     The career plan Green has coordinated allows for students to be set on the right track to be successful in the PCC programs and in high school classes. This has allowed students the opportunity to learn about these programs early on in their high school careers which can help set a clear pathway for them. 

     “The benefits of these programs are to help students be motivated in class and are more likely to achieve an associate's degree,” school counselor Pamela Williamson said. “The earlier we introduce these classes, the sooner students will be successful.”

     Not only do PCC programs help students achieve their goals, but also encourage them to work harder. To be accepted into the PCC programs, there are many prerequisites such as a grade point average of 2.8 or higher, a recorded ACT or SAT score as well as a recommendation letter from a counselor or administrator. All juniors and seniors are eligible to apply since those students have had the time to complete the requirements however, some sophomores can apply as well if they have taken the ACT or SAT. These factors ensure that students will be successful in the program by proving their level of work ethic and motivation.

     “This type of [PCC] program is not for the faint of heart,” Green said. “You have to be highly motivated and very well organized and have a specific goal in mind.”

     The program that is the most popular amongst students at Rose is Career


Graphic by Annie Sullivan

and College Promise. Within this program there are three different pathways: College Transfer (CTP), Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Cooperative Innovative High School Programs (CIHSP). The two pathways that allow students to earn an associates degree are CTP and CIHSP. The CTE pathway allows students to get a lot of college courses completed and also earn a certificate. There are approximately 115 Rose students currently pursuing one of the three pathways offered. 

     These programs have impacted many Rose students and allowed for them to begin their next level education earlier than most. Senior Claire Crane is one of the Rose students apart of the College Transfer pathway that will not only be graduating with not only her high school diploma, but also an Associates Degree in Art. She is taking a gap year after high school graduation and then will be furthering her education at Appalachian State University.

     “I have gained a lot of experience preparing for college,” Crane said. “I’ve had some in-person classes before COVID-19, so I got to experience a campus and also more rigorous courses that also prepared me for college.”

     She feels that the opportunity to be able to graduate from high school with an associates degree can help with building a resume for college applications, acquiring scholarships and getting a job right out of high school. Senior Zach Rogers is another Rose student that is set up for success through the Career and College Promise program offered at PCC. He will graduate this spring with over 64 college credits, an Associate Degree in Engineering as well as an Associate Degree in Science.

     “I’ve gained access to a lot of scholarships that are offered to students pursuing degrees and community college students as well, so I’d say it’s very beneficial just because when it comes to paying for college, I have two different pools of scholarships I can apply to,” Rogers said. “Taking my classes at Pitt while with Rose has been maybe the best decision I have ever made.”

     Rogers is a part of the College Transfer pathway where he will continue his education at either NC State University for Aerospace Engineering or East Carolina University for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. His two associates degrees have helped him to complete two years of his education in advance, cutting his time spent in college in half. The chance to complete college-level courses and receive the credit while in high school will help eliminate the expensive costs to attend a university and eliminate the amount of college debt. 

     “Without this opportunity, I’d still be scrounging for pennies in the couch to pay for college,” Rogers said. “Having that extra bit of freedom to be able to go to college without having to break the bank or to be able to use my degree to find specific better paying jobs [than minimum wage employment] is an opportunity that is unmatched and really gives me the freedom to just enjoy college.”

     Overall, the programs offered here at Rose and PCC have allowed for students to take their education into their own hands and get an early start for the future. With the help and support of teachers, counselors and administrators Rose students are set up for success. 

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