When 15-year-old Noel Ramos graduates from high school in 2018, she can frame her diploma and hang it next to the two degrees she earned after graduating from Kellogg Community College this spring.
Ramos, of Bedford, is a sophomore at Gull Lake High School. She’s also a KCC alumna who graduated from KCC May 12 with an Associate in Arts degree and an Associate in General Studies degree. She began dual-enrolling at KCC while just a high school freshman, taking up to five classes in a single semester.
“I strongly recommend it,” Ramos said. “You’re taking a college class, and it’s college credit and high school credit, so it’s the best of both worlds.”
‘You have to care’
Ramos said her mom discovered KCC’s dual-enrollment program while doing research on options for taking college classes while still in high school. Her first college courses – a basic English and a basic math class – were the first of what she estimates was 15 to 20 total courses taken through KCC, covering topics ranging from criminal psychology to studio art to astronomy.
There were challenges, but Ramos said overall she found the college courses were actually easier than some of her high school courses academically, putting more emphasis on overall learning and giving less weight to tests and final exams. However, Ramos said, being a college student requires you to take more responsibility for your education, and you have to be more proactive in your classes.
“College teachers do care about your grades, but it all depends on you,” Ramos said. “You have to keep in contact with the teachers; you have to actually care.”
Now that she’s officially a college graduate, Ramos said she plans on taking “a little bit of a break,” and she may only take one college class a semester in addition to her high school work, probably as a dual-enrollee at Western Michigan University. She eventually wants to be a school psychologist, a career goal aided by the media attention generated by her recent accomplishments: An industry group recently contacted her high school counselor and offered her a mentor in the field, inviting her to an industry conference this fall.
“They’re giving me all the resources I need to be a school psychologist,” Ramos said. “It’s really cool.”
Dual-enrollment at KCC
If you’re a high school student interested in dual-enrolling at KCC, now is the time to start making plans for the fall semester. Your first step is to talk to your high school counselor and ask them about dual-enrolling at KCC.