High School Students Get a Head Start on University
For most students, there is a natural progression to university after graduating from high school. But at the University of Regina through CCE, high school students are getting the jump on a post-secondary education by taking High School Accelerated courses with the opportunity for dual credit.
For Tejas Leong, transitioning from high school to university became a whole lot easier because of his participation in the High School Accelerated program with dual credit options. “While I was in high school I took a university English class that also earned me a high school credit in a corresponding English course,” says Tejas. “When I graduated and went to university, my course load was lighter and it made the first semester a lot easier.”
The ability to move towards high school graduation and earn university credits at the same time was a motivator for his sister Anaka to participate in HSXL as well. “In high school, I took regular university courses including two Math classes, Anthropology and English. It gave me a really good idea of the expectations and time requirements of a university class so I felt better prepared when it came to attending full-time.”
More and more students are taking advantage of HSXL and dual credit opportunities as a way to ease their transition to university, save time and explore potential areas of interest.
“The students we see are not always the A+ students,” says Robin Markel, Head of Career & Professional Development, “but they are usually very motivated as well as interested and engaged in the subject matter.”
“[High School Accelerated] was a great way to see what university is all about and the kinds of courses that you might be interested in. This was a good decision for me.” - Tejas Leong
There are currently eight courses that qualify for dual credits and CCE anticipates more will be added. “Students can also take any university class through the HSXL program. Even if they take one per term during grades 11 and 12 they can almost complete a full U of R semester,” notes Markel. “At the very least, if they’re taking a dual credit-eligible course, they can get a spare in high school while also completing courses towards their first year of university.”
With interest and demand increasing, Markel says that exciting plans are underway to grow the program. “Based on requests from high school guidance counsellors we’re expanding to a Fall and Winter program. We work with high school schedules and tailor our offerings so that we start our winter programs just after high schools end their first term.”
Special care is taken to ensure these younger students are well-supported along the way. “We create a very encouraging environment starting with an in-person and virtual orientation at the beginning of the semester. We provide students with important information about the program and the University and give them the opportunity to ask us any questions they have. This is a big step and we want to make sure that it’s a positive one.”
CCE also focuses on ensuring high school students from across the province and beyond have access to these programs. “During Covid, we were operating entirely online but now we can do a mix of in-person, hybrid and online. This is great for meeting the needs of students with different learning styles,” says Markel. “It also allows us to reach students in rural and remote areas of the province who might like to try out a university course as a way of seeing if it’s something they’d like.”
This innovative approach was well-received by Tejas who is on his way to a Bachelor of Computer Science and Anaka who is taking a Bachelors degree in Creative Technologies at the U of R.
“I would absolutely recommend this program,” says Tejas. “It was a great way to see what university is all about and the kinds of courses that you might be interested in. This was a good decision for me.”