by Carly Gilmore, current student
Looking to get a head start on your undergraduate degree? The NNU Bridge Academy is designed to introduce high school students to the challenges and rigors of college courses. Express Education, NNU Online, and the Concurrent Credit Program are the three options the NNU Bridge Academy offers. Through these programs, high school students are able to start their undergraduate education in a medium that best fits their needs—on campus, online, or in their high school.
High school students looking for a way to prepare for college—without adding courses to their high school schedule or having to travel off campus—need to know about the Concurrent Credit Program. Besides preparing for college, it is a way to save time, work, and money. It also gives students the opportunity to get a jump start into college.
To get insight into the benefits of this program, I talked to foreign languages concurrent credit instructor and advisor, Matthew Fraley. It might not seem worth the extra effort while in high school, but taking college credits early can be a valuable investment in a student’s future.
Prepare for college
Even though the classes are taught at a high school, the material and work is the same as a freshman level course at the undergraduate level. Therefore, as Fraley explains, “students involved in the Concurrent Credit Program tend to achieve more in college. There isn’t that surprise factor; they have already experienced the rigor of a college level course.”
Since they will be better prepared for college courses, concurrent credit students will also better adapt to university life. Being prepared will make the college experience less stressful and more rewarding—more time and energy can be placed into relationships and extracurricular experiences.
Receive excellent instruction
To assure that concurrent credit courses are taught at the same rigor as college courses, instructors must be NNU-approved and reviewed every year by advisors. In order to be approved, instructors must meet the criteria each discipline sets. After an instructor has been chosen, an advisor observes his or her class once a year.
When asked about the benefits of enrolling into this program, Fraley said, “they aren’t just preparing to get into college, these students are already in college.” By passing one class, students receive credit on two transcripts—both high school and college. In other words, students will only have to invest their time into the class once, but that effort will be recognized by both institutions.
By earning undergraduate credits before attending college, students are allowed more flexibility during college. With some general education classes complete, students will be able to have a lighter course load, to include more classes they choose into their schedules, or to graduate early. “They get to do it sooner, so there is more advantages later; it opens more doors sooner,” adds Fraley.
Undergraduate degrees are expensive. With the Concurrent Credit Program, high school students receive a huge discount for their education. During his time as an instructor and advisor, Fraley has known “students who have gotten 40 college credits from the Concurrent Credit Program at the price of $65 per credit.” While costs and courses available may vary from year to year, it is possible to complete a full year of college for a fraction of the price.
Embrace learning advantages
In addition to his roles as foreign language concurrent credit instructor and advisor, Fraley is a foreign language professor at NNU and the College of Idaho. Since Fraley has taught languages in both high school and college, his experience has allowed valuable insight into the differences between the concurrent credit and traditional undergraduate programs.
He said that between his college and high school classes, the high school classes have an advantage over the college classes; his high school students have more access to their instructor. Since classes are five—instead of one to three—days a week, concurrent credit students get more constant exposure to the content and guidance from their instructor.
NNU’s Concurrent Credit Program is designed to enrich the educational opportunities of pre-college students regardless of where they plan to receive their undergraduate education. If high school students invest in this program, they can save money, time, and effort while getting a head start on their undergraduate education. “We are a bridge to college,” explained Professor Fraley. “No matter what institution students attend—NNU or not—they will be prepared.”
Photo caption: a classroom at Nampa High School.