By Denise Dick
Girard High School seniors Kaitlyn Mathews and Elisabeth Winston believe they’re better prepared for college — and further ahead than some of their peers — because they took advantage of Youngstown State University’s College in High School program.
Both girls are finishing physics, for which they’ll earn both high-school and college credit. Elisabeth received a full-tuition scholarship to YSU next year, and Kaitlyn plans to attend Ohio State University.
Kaitlyn also took calculus, and Elisabeth took calculus and chemistry through College in High School.
Chemistry is “one of the hardest classes the first year at YSU, and I’ve already taken it,” Elisabeth said.
Ed Miner teaches the physics class at Girard and often hears from former students.
They tell him how much easier a college course was because of the College in High School class he taught them — “even though they complained the whole time,” he said.
Sharon Schroeder, assistant director of YSU’s Metro Credit Educational Outreach, said the program has grown every year.
In 2010, College in High School included 104 students, 12 schools in two counties and six classes.
That grew to 531 students, 37 schools in four counties and 11 classes this year. Next year, 42 schools in four counties and 17 classes are involved.
The number of students who will enroll next year is unknown, but a change in requirements will make more students eligible.
Schroeder said the requirements have been changed to be in line with the state’s new college- readiness standards. To be eligible for the classes that are available at schools in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties, a student must be a junior or senior with a 3.0 grade-point-average with ACT scores of 18 in English, 21 in reading and 22 in math. In the past, ACT scores of 23 composite and 23 in English were required.
The deadline for applications for the fall semester is June 1, and it is Oct. 31 for spring semester 2014.
Next year’s offerings are calculus 1 and 2, physics, English literature, English composition, general chemistry 1 and 2, biology 1 and 2, French, Italian, history, communication foundations, general psychology, investigations into economic class and science by design.
Allen Hunter, YSU chemistry professor, believes that one of the reasons the College in High School program works is because it started from the ground up.
Professors in YSU’s chemistry department, for example, went to university administrators with the idea rather than it happening the other way around.
Daryl Mincey, professor and chairman of YSU’s chemistry department, said some at the university didn’t see how the program could work.
Hunter said they worried it would negatively affect YSU because students would take courses at their high schools rather than at the university.
That hasn’t been an issue, officials said.
Schroeder said the program is appealing to parents and students because it cuts down on tuition costs. Students are able to take the general-education requirements in high school rather than paying for them in college.
Hunter said it allows some students more freedom in their college schedules to explore electives that interest them.
Bill Snyder, a YSU chemistry professor and retired chemistry teacher from Poland Seminary High School, said one of his former students who took CHS chemistry at Poland tested out of the chemistry class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
YSU students Patrick Hyden of Girard and Sean Meditz of Canfield both took advantage of their respective high schools’ CHS offerings.
Meditz, a freshman, took calculus and general physics while Hyden, who expects to graduate in 2016, took calculus 1 and 2, chemistry, physics and statistics.
Both students are studying engineering.
Meditz said taking the courses in high school helped him know what was expected in a college course.
Hyden began at YSU with 67 college-credit hours, which may allow him to graduate a semester early. “It really helped me out,” he said, referring to preparing him for college.
He also attributes that work to helping him secure a campus job as a tutor.