By BETH PETER
The Morris County School of Technology, among other schools, has developed a program for senior students to begin taking college classes a year earlier than most at County College of Morris.
The program offered by the high school allows students to take classes for college credits. Instead of staying at their high school, the students come onto the CCM campus.
“I decided to enter this program to reach another level of learner that one simply cannot do at a high school,” said Faith Hoos, a 17 year-old who is studying Veterinary Sciences.
There are many differences between high school and college including class size, class nature i.e. lectures, ways of teaching, workload, the grading scale, transportation, etc.
“The classes are more challenging, I really have to work to get an A,” said Jaime Mayor, a 17-year old in the program studying Healthcare Sciences. “The teachers aren’t guiding me through each and every task, so I am more independent.”
Despite CCM being a commuter based school, it has its limitations and issues in regards to parking on campus. Since the students involved in the program are seniors in high school, some drive to campus, while others find another means of transportation.
“There aren’t enough cars in my family for me to drive, so instead I usually have my mother or brother pick me up or drop me off. I find this easier as parking can be hard at CCM,” said Naomi Reji, a 17-year old student, who is also studying Healthcare Sciences at the school.
High school students attending CCM face new experiences that can seem daunting to someone used to circulating amongst only peers their age.
“I love how the professors and students don’t care about our different ages because we are all there to get along and learn. It is a little nerve racking when you walk into a classroom of adults and everyone there also assumes you’re an adult,” said Hoos.
Classes at CCM or any university/college differ from those taught in high schools. For instance, high schools have dismissal bells, the expectations from the teachers are different, and the workload and responsibilities of the students are greater.
“Work is always on the syllabus, so I always know when I have something due or what I am going to learn that day. In addition, tests really make or break your grade. My school was always project based, so I could always bomb a test and make up for it by getting an A on a project.” Reji said. “At CCM, I have to do well on the tests because they are worth my whole grade.”
At many community colleges, students study for two years and then are able to get jobs with the degree they’ve earned, or move onto a four year college to receive their bachelor’s or master’s degree.
“Next year I am planning on going to a four-year university to study the major of my choice,” said Hoos.
Mayor has similar plans for next year, “I want to do computer sciences at my top choice school, Harvey Mudd College.”
“I plan to attend a college,” said Reji, “Hopefully DeSales University for its five-year physician assistant program.”
This opportunity is one that not every high school student gets to experience. Some high school students chose a different path for their future than going to college.
Some schools, like West Morris Central High School in Long Valley, offer seniors the choice to attend only half a day of class to finish their required classes in high school. The rest of their day is spent taking classes at CCM.
Another option for high school students is dropping out of high school entirely and attending CCM to earn their state-issued high school diploma. It involves a thirty credit program to complete state requirements. Students can then transition smoothly into a matriculated program at CCM to earn associate degrees.
“CCM is a great place for high school students to work their way from being dependent students to becoming ready for independence in the world,” said Hoos.
Mayor said “I am happy I chose to come here, instead of going to my high school.”
“I am still learning a lot about this college” said Reji, “But it has given me an opportunity to learn about what I can look forward to when I actually attend the university of my choice.”