By Jack Staggs
College: a fun-filled time in one’s life; also very stressful and quite expensive. For Columbus City School students, they can experience this college life a little bit sooner.
In Columbus City Schools there are three current programs in place where students are able to either attend an actual college or take college classes at the student’s high school.
One program, Post-Secondary Education Option (more commonly known as PSEO), is a program in which students have the option to take some classes, usually at Columbus State or Ohio State. With this program, students attend their college classes, but still have classes they are enrolled in at their high school.
Another program, the Senior to Sophomores program, is a program in which students attend college full-time with no enrollment in high school courses. This program is the most comparable to college life with all your academic time being spent on campus.
Finally, the newest addition to these types of programs is the Credit Counts program. This was put in place last year with a very generous grant from AEP (American Electric Power). This program is partnered with Columbus State. Students either stay in their high school, take classes online or they actually attend the college. Students are still enrolled in classes at their school.
Zach Barnum, a senior at Whetstone, is a three-year varsity baseball starter and two-year First City Honoree. He was also a top 10 homecoming candidate.
Zach has been a part of the PSEO program for over a year. Last school year he attended Columbus State, where he first participated in the program. This year he is attending The Ohio State University and is enrolled in a History of Communications and Philosophy class. He goes to OSU 3 times a week for half a day. Zach would like to major in journalism, maybe something along the line of sports.
“I think it’s good to get on a college campus while you’re still in high school because it will help when you’re a full time student,” Zach said. There’s still a lot of things you have to manage and be on top of.
Sam Price also a senior this year and a three-year varsity baseball starter, two-year First Team All-City Honoree. Sam was also a one-year JV basketball standout, otherwise known as “Larry Bird.” He also was a two-year soccer participant.
Sam is in his second year as a PSEO Columbus State Cougar. Sam is enrolled in a Pre-Calculus Equivalent class, which he attends 4 times a week and an Ancient Civilizations (up to 1460 A.D.) class, which he attends 2 times a week.
“I think it’s a good experience, it prepares you so there’s no surprises when you’re a full time student,” said Sam. He thinks that it’s good to get the required classes out of the way.
Even though Sam recommends the program, it isn’t a cakewalk. Students definitely need to be proactive to be successful in them.
Christian Schumacher is enrolled in the PSEO program at The Ohio State University. He takes Classical Mythology and Philosophy three days a week. Christian wants to get the General Education (GE) classes out of the way so he can focus on major classes when he’s full time.
“Free college is the best college,” Christian said. All of these programs are paid for by grants or the school system. Christian recommends asking questions in class and talking to professors to get the best learning experience from the early college experience.
Colin Martinez, a current junior at Whetstone and soccer extraordinaire, is enrolled in the Credits Counts program. Colin stays at Whetstone to take his classes. He is currently taking a Computer Concepts and Applications course along with computer programing.
“It’s a new environment,” Colin said. A change of scenery. It’s a college credit for free, might as well get it now.
Columbus City Schools is very fortunate to have these opportunities for their students. The classes are free and there is now a program not just for juniors and seniors, but freshmen and sophomores.
If interested, contact your counselor for more information and to discuss the path that is best for you.