Maybe you graduated high school feeling pretty good about your GPA, or your standing in the class rankings. Maybe you got to wear those swank braided tassels that indicated special merit or honors, even.
But can you imagine graduating high school with not one but two associate degrees, as well?
That’s a reality for many students at Timken Early College High School in Canton, Ohio, including Jac’quir Pearson, who graduated in 2016 and is also distinguished in being the first person in his family to attend college.
Pearson is grateful for the “opportunities to excel” in early college, as well as the chance to get a taste of college before arriving on a campus after graduation. The resources and support that early college students receive is unparalleled, providing them not only with a solid academic foundation, but the opportunity to hone those skills necessary for success in college, career and civic life: time management, collaboration, knowing when they can rely on themselves – and when they need to ask for help.
Because early colleges are designed to offer support for all students, but especially those who are from low-income or are first-generation college-goers, they’re providing an essential service to learning communities committed to preparing their students for an uncertain future. Early college graduates leave high school with a clear path forward – many programs offer specific tracks and students are doing more than just earning random college credit – and a deeper understanding of themselves as learners than they might have had in a traditional environment. So when they’re asked to turn their tassels on graduation day, they’re turning a corner in their own lives, too.