High School vs. College – A Dual Enrollment Student’s Experience

Autumn Williams

As a high school dual enrollment student at Sandalwood High School who now attends Florida State College at Jacksonville, I can see a plethora of differences and similarities between the jail known as high school and the freedom known as college.

At Sandalwood High School there are plenty of rules such as what you can and cannot wear, or come to class and stay the entire class, even phones are not allowed at any time during the school day. These rules are obnoxious and considered dumb to some of the students of Sandalwood while others couldn’t care less.

At FSCJ there is no such thing as dress code or being required to be in class or not touching your phone at all. At Sandalwood you would get written up, be suspended, get detention, or worse just for breaking one of these rules.

In high school, students are treated like children but are expected to act like adults and be responsible. However, some of the teachers don’t allow the students the opportunity to be responsible. The teachers allow the students to turn in work two to three weeks late or make up a test they missed because they didn’t feel like going to class that day.

From what I’ve experienced in college the professors will give you some leeway on assignments but it is your responsibility to do the work and turn it in on time. The professors at FSCJ rarely remind you when there is to be a test or an assignment is due, they expect you to keep up with the schedule posted online on Blackboard and be prepared for the next class.

High school teachers remind students of tests, assignment due dates and when make-up days are multiple times throughout the week. Plus they have their due dates and test dates written on their whiteboards at the front of the room. It is nearly impossible to not know when something is due and yet that is the number one excuse teachers hear from their high school students.

High school students all across America say they can’t wait to get into college for the freedom of choosing when your classes are and no dress code. However, are they prepared for the freedom that college allows? Students in high school who are not motivated to do their work and earn good grades typically are not ready to be completely on their own.

This is why a select number of students from Sandalwood are a part of the Early College Program or the Dual Enrollment Program. Early College students begin taking junior and senior classes their freshman and sophomore years and transfer to FSCJ for their junior and senior years to obtain their AA. Dual Enrollment students begin taking college courses their junior year at Sandalwood then they have the option of Early Admission to FSCJ to take all of their remaining classes at FSCJ their senior year or take the required classes at Sandalwood.

As an Early College or Dual Enrollment student you must be motivated to keep up with the college pressures of papers, tests, and new schedules. Regular high school students may not be ready for college life at such a young age.

Should high school students wait to go to college or try the Dual Enrollment route? “I think throwing Dual Enrollment students into a college environment, a lot of times it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I just hate to see Dual Enrollment students kind of get thrown into an environment that they didn’t work their way up to”… said Ben Yung of Student Life at FSCJ.

There are different viewpoints on whether students should remain in high school or attempt the college life before the usual age. Some say you should enjoy your high school career while you can and stay in high school for all four years that a student is supposed to be in high school. Others say try your hand in college and go for that AA at a young age to try to push yourself above the rest and stand out on college applications.

Personally, I think it depends on the student, what their goals are and how motivated they are. There are pros and cons to both high school and college, it is all in the way you perceive them. Are you going to look at the glass as half empty or half full? You decide.

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