University of Findlay Gives High School Students a Head-Start on College
The University of Findlay College Credit Plus (CCP) Program has recently seen soaring enrollment numbers as more and more high school students, and their parents, see the value in beginning their higher education careers early.
What is College Credit Plus?
As part of a statewide, dual enrollment program, Findlay’s CCP Program is meant to provide high school students the opportunity to take college-level courses to ultimately position them for a successful college and professional career. These courses are provided to college-ready students and allows them to get a head start on earning credits to graduate.
Christine Denecker, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching and Program Excellence, stated that, in her experience, these types of programs are not only great for students who want to get a head start in college, but it is also a way for students to explore their options for the future. “When students take these courses, it can be a pathway to college in general, not necessarily a specific major,” she said.
With UF’s CCP Program, students have the option to take UF courses from a certified teacher right in their high school, take UF courses online, or take courses at the University’s campus and gain first-hand college experience. Students who take courses through Concurrent Enrollment will learn the coursework from teachers in an environment they’re already familiar with. The teachers deliver Findlay’s courses and are required to meet certain criteria to qualify. Findlay’s instructors maintain an open line of communication with these teachers throughout the year to ensure quality instruction. Students also may choose to branch out, meet new people, and become familiar with the college environment by taking classes on UF’s campus. This opportunity may also allow for more course options, depending on the number of credentialed teachers at high school.
The majority of courses offered through the CCP Program are general education, or CORE courses, that are required to complete any undergraduate degree. This includes courses such as College Writing, Elementary Statistics, Public Speaking, General Chemistry, and Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology. By completing some required courses prior to full-time college enrollment, students open up opportunities for further exploration later on in their college careers. CCP Program courses are also an especially good option for students enrolled in a high school that doesn’t have many advanced course options.
Findlay’s College Credit Plus Program is “different from things like [Advanced Placement] courses. Students not only get the rigor of college work, because these are actually University of Findlay courses, but they’re also gaining college credit,” Denecker noted. In fact, many of the students who completed Findlay’s CCP Program said they believe they are better prepared for college-level coursework when they graduate from high school because they understand what’s expected of them in a college environment and learn valuable skills like time-management and good study habits. Denecker said, “College prep courses like Advanced Placement are meant to get students ready for college, but with CCP, students are in college and starting their pathway through general education courses.”
Because students earn college credit by completing CCP courses, they are able to graduate from college sooner, and spend less money overall on their education. “Students who participate in the program have more flexibility when they finally become enrolled in college full-time because they already have some of the general education courses under their belt,” said Nicole Diederich, Ph.D., professor of English and lead College Credit Plus faculty liaison. Because of this, students then have the ability to “pick up courses they wouldn’t have had time to take to add a minor or even another major.”
While enrolled, CCP students are able to take full advantage of the University’s support services including the DeLong Writing Center, tutoring services, Shafer Library, and access to faculty members for additional coursework help and guidance. Advisors are also readily available for academic coaching and to help guide students as they learn how to navigate college life.
The UF Difference
As a leader of CCP programs, UF has 38 partner schools and 98 Concurrent Enrollment Instructors across Ohio, providing more CCP Program opportunities to students than any other private higher education institution in the state. “We’re extremely grateful for all the wonderful partnerships the University has with local school systems,” said Rebecca Hillman, assistant director of admissions for College Credit Plus. “These partnerships allow us to make a difference in students’ lives by providing an option for higher education and career exploration they may not have known exists.”
Together, Findlay’s CCP team and partner schools work to provide the best possible experience for high school students, and their dedication can be seen in a number of ways. According to the 2020 Ohio Department of Higher Education College Credit Plus Annual Report, in the 2019-20 academic year, 1,418 students were enrolled in 2,775 courses through Findlay’s CCP Program. During that year, students had an incredible course completion rate of 97.8% and an average GPA of 3.37 all while earning a total of 7,238 college credits.
Findlay’s CCP Program has seen continual growth over the last several years, and brought in a record class of 1,807 registered students during the 2021-22 academic year. This growth has not only been made possible because of student success in the classroom, but also by the relationships built with the teachers within the high schools. “We spend a lot of time with our instructors. We provide an orientation to the University and the courses they’ll be teaching, have annual professional development, and we do classroom observations,” Denecker said.
While institutions in Ohio are mandated to provide some professional development and classroom observations, UF takes pride in doing this “at a much deeper level” by truly building a partnership with instructors and their schools. Denecker explained, “[The instructors] really appreciate that support. We often hear from them, ‘this is the best professional development I’ve ever gotten.’” Diederich added, “Faculty liaisons take time to interact with the high school teachers, so we have a sense of community and support which keeps the teachers invested in our program.”
For more information on University of Findlay’s College Credit Plus Program, including the Findlay experience, program requirements, and a list of courses offered, visit the CCP Program webpage or contact their office at 419-434-4738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.