Sophomores entering their junior year can choose to enroll at a variety of college courses offered through Ivy Tech at Austin High School. What is the Austin Early College Academy? This academy allows students to take a predetermined set of dual credit courses that would grant them an associate’s degree upon graduation in addition to their high school degrees. Essentially, the credits obtained from completing these courses are worth two years of work in college, which is about half a bachelor’s degree. The program is free to join, but considering the thousands of dollars one would save in completing half of their bachelor’s before entering college, the program is priceless.
The program is sponsored and run by Ivy Tech, which has gathered some of its own teachers in order to conduct the academy. As for difficulty, these courses are college level, several taught by adjunct professors, so expect a more intense workload. The lecture format is more prevalent in the program than it is at Southwestern, so fast and efficient note taking skills are essential. However, teachers at the academy are not unreachable, and with classroom sizes averaging at about thirty students per class, students are still able to ask questions and interact with their teachers.
Austin Academy courses begin a few weeks into the junior year. Students will attend the first four periods of the day at Southwestern, then pick up their lunches in the cafeteria before boarding the bus for a thirty-minute drive to Austin High School. The bus typically arrives early, giving students fifteen to twenty minutes to prepare for that day’s class. Classes usually last until 3:00 pm, though early dismissals are not uncommon. Students will then return to the bus and arrive back at Southwestern at around 3:30 pm, upon which they will be released into the main office. Academy students attend the program three days a week. Juniors will spend the remaining three hours of the days that they do not go to Austin in the auxiliary gym, though seniors are allowed to sign out and leave.
Such a program not only looks great on transcripts, but it is also academically challenging and could save students thousands of dollars in college expenses. If you are interested, contact Mrs. Slygh for more information.