“A main concern of mine was if I would find friends.”

ECC’s dual-credit students find their way on campus

Vansh Patel and Eric D. Rangel

At Elgin Community College, high schoolers are enrolled in college classes. These high school students who attend college courses are referred to as Dual Credit students as a part of the Dual Credit program. 

The ECC website explains the Dual Credit Program:

” [The] Dual Credit Program is a structured program between secondary schools and Elgin Community College. If you meet the requirements, you’ll be able to take college-level courses at ECC; you’ll get college credit and satisfy your high school graduation requirements.”

Many high schoolers are interested in joining the dual credit program to pursue their education further. On top of that, their home high schools cover their tuition, but many students are a bit skeptical about the whole process. 

Matthew Tavolacci, a first-year dual credit student from Bartlett High School, describes his experiences and the process of joining the dual credit program for any upcoming students that want to be a part of it.

“The process of joining dual credit was fairly simple.” Tavolacci said. “I had to submit a recommended GPA of a 3.0 as well as my PSAT scores for both reading and math that met certain minimum requirements. My reading score was accepted, however, I wanted a better math placement, so I took the ALEKS placement test. […] After I filled out a form utilizing directions provided by the district, I submitted my online application and was informed of my acceptance in about 4-6 weeks.”

Evan Phan, a second-year dual credit student from Jacobs High School, explains his experience with Dual Credit and continues on to give advice on future classes of Dual Credit. 

“Joining the dual credit program was quite a lengthy process,” Phan said. “I first attended two information sessions in the fall that gave me an idea of what the program was about, the application process, and the pros/cons of the program. Soon after, I told my counselor and registered for the diagnostic exams. In January, I took a math exam, a reading exam, and a writing exam. Fortunately, I scored above the level required and didn’t have to take another exam. About a month later, I did an interview on Zoom. After waiting for several weeks, I finally got the news in the Spring that I was going to be in the dual credit program next year. The process can be quite stressful, but if you prepare well, you will do great.”

Many students are also concerned with the environment of ECC and the issues that come along with being a dual credit student. 

As an issue for Phan quickly arose, he found himself thanking the experiences he faced.

“One of the biggest challenges for me was discipline. I had just gone from a place where the teachers would constantly be making sure we show up to class, do the homework, do the quizzes, etc.,” Phan said. “Now, I had this enticing freedom to choose whether I showed up to class or do the homework. It was quite dangerous in the first few weeks, but I made a [happy] planner and got myself back on track. I’m thankful for experiencing those issues.”

Loneliness can also be a major concern with students transferring from high school to a community college. Tavolacci and Phan both have some experiences and advice to upcoming dual credit students.

I walked into classrooms where I did not know a single person; it was an odd feeling,” Phan said. “Going to different clubs and events around campus helped tremendously, and I recommend all dual credit students put themselves out there and join a club or attend a meeting at least once this semester.”

Tavolacci had a similar experience with facing loneliness as well, but he met friends quickly throughout the first half of the semester.

“A main concern of mine was if I would find friends,” Tavolacci said. “To my pleasant surprise, I found myself surrounded by likable students of a similar mindset to that of me. You’ve got plenty of support at from both faculty and staff ECC. The community here is like that of a family, they are always there to support you in tough times.