Secondary students get a taste of college through dual credit initiatives
November 26, 2012

By the time the academic year ends, more than 1,000 high school students will have taken a course at Georgian College – earning a credit toward both their secondary school diploma and a college program. The Dual Credit program, run by the Central Lakes Regional Planning Team and led by Georgian, aims to improve the transition between secondary school and the college pathway.

Hailey Edwards took the Dual Credit program at the Robbert Hartog Midland Campus and is now a Georgian student.

At no cost, selected students can choose from more than 40 college courses that are program-specific or fall under the areas of apprenticeship or general education. They learn directly from a college instructor at one of Georgian’s seven campuses in Barrie, Midland, Muskoka, Orangeville, Orillia, Owen Sound and South Georgian Bay. Each student also receives the support of a secondary school teacher attached to the program.

Credits can be used toward a college diploma and are transferrable between colleges.

“The Dual Credit program is a great way to engage high school students and introduce them to college life,” says Michelle Rao, Manager, School College Partnerships at Georgian. “It’s one of many initiatives our planning team organizes that connect secondary students to the college pathway. Students get to test out the college environment and gain greater insight into which career path is best for them.”

The program’s success can be measured by Georgian’s success in recruiting some of these students. As of September 2012, 555 dual credit graduates had enrolled at the college in 82 different programs. Today, more than 103 dual credit graduates are now Georgian graduates.

The Central Lakes Regional Planning Team also runs School Within a College – another dual credit initiative that is transforming the way at-risk secondary students learn. Through classes at Georgian’s Barrie, Midland, Owen Sound and South Georgian Bay campuses, students can earn high school credits from their secondary school teacher along with a dual credit.

The program meets the needs of students better suited for an alternative learning environment, including those who left high school before graduating, those disengaged in the classroom, or underachieving students with the potential to succeed.

“The School Within a College model is changing lives,” says Rao. “We know, based on a survey dual credit students completed, that they have a higher interest in learning, a better attendance record, and increased confidence in their ability to succeed in a post-secondary program.”

Georgian partners with five local school boards as part of the Central Lakes Regional Planning Team: the Simcoe County District School Board, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, the Bluewater District School Board and the Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board.

These dual credit programs are made possible through the School College Work Initiative, with funding provided by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.