Junior Nolan Walters Participates in the Early College Program


Credit to Photo Submitted

Junior Nolan Walters poses in front of welcome sign for St. Charles Community College.

By Peter Pae

It is unusual for a junior in high school to already be taking college classes. But as it sounds, there is a program here at FHN called Early College Program that allows students like junior Nolan Walters to take college classes at St. Charles Community College while attending high school. This program has given Walters the opportunity to get ahead in his college education.

“Essentially I was going to take classes at the community college to get them out of the way,” Walters said. “The original plan was that I was going to get an associate’s degree before I even graduated because I was going into biology. But once I sat down with the early college program counselor, she said I probably wouldn’t be able to get an associate’s degree unless I work really hard.”

As of this school semester, Walters is finishing five college classes. These classes will give Walters full college credits for each course passed, unlike AP classes which will give you college credit if you pass the AP Exam. He originally perceived the classes to be stressful, but was taken back by how easy they actually were.

“I thought they were going to be a lot more difficult than they were,” Walters said. “They aren’t a whole lot different from high school classes other than the fact that they are only held on certain days and certain classes are held for a lot longer than others.”

Walters leaves FHN at 9:15 AM to attend SCC, however, he does not necessarily have to go to SCC on certain days of the week. On the days he does have class, they start at 10:00 AM, giving him 45 minutes to prepare before his college classes. Even so, Walters enjoys being on the campus.

“It has a good atmosphere,” Walters said. “ There’s a lot of extracurricular activities just around campus. For example, there’s free coffee, tea, and snacks in the library to help you study for finals. There are also these de-stress events throughout the week like crafts and emotional support dogs, free massages, and grab-and-go coffee. Just random events throughout the week to help you with finals.”

College classes and campus freedom are not the only benefits that The Early College Program provides. The program run by College and Career Counselor Brooke Prestidge allows students to take these courses at a discounted rate.

“You’re earning college credit at a reduced rate,” Prestidge said. “It is a 60% reduced rate from what the community college is charging for those courses. You get flexibility in your schedule, so students can have a partial day if they’re doing community college classes.

A college class through this program costs $50 an hour, and more information about this program can be found on Prestidge’s canvas. The application to apply for this program is not complicated, and Walters is glad he went through this program.

“I’m going into college after I graduate from high school and I’m graduating with several college credits,” Walters said. “This program is saving me thousands of dollars.”