By Kathryn Shpak, University Writer
“It’s a no-brainer. For a fraction of the cost, you can explore interests and receive some college credits,” says Post’s new Associate Director of High School Academy (HSA) Chad McGuire.
Post University’s High School Academy gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. Depending on how ambitious students are, they could graduate from high school with enough credits to earn an associate degree from Post to go along with their high school diploma. At Post University’s graduation in May, our youngest graduate was 17 years old. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in philosophy. The next month, he graduated with his high school diploma from Highville Charter and Change Academy.
This past May, three additional students from the High School Academy graduated from their respective high schools in June, while also earning an associate degree from Post.
Another student from Highville, Gabrielle Bynum expresses, “What inspired me to take high school and college classes at the same time was the fact that I could get my bachelor’s degree much sooner and gain some college experience early. When I started high school, I wasn’t 100% sure that what I wanted to be, but after taking legal study courses, I’m now sure that I want to study law, but that I do not want to be an attorney like I may have previously thought.”
High School junior, Alexandra Jannetty, who took the introductory CTC101 course over the summer stated,” “I am so grateful to be learning this now. It teaches you everything! Even wellness and how to manage your time and stress.”
Most of these 3-credit courses are 8-week accelerated online classes where they are interacting with peers and Post faculty members. To ensure that the right student population are participating in this program, the requirements include a minimum of a 3.0 GPA as well as a letter of recommendation from a teacher. Most of these students begin in their sophomore year, taking one course at a time in addition to their normal high school schedule.
Earlier this month, McGuire became the director of the High School Academy. McGuire previously worked in both secondary education at Easthampton High School in Massachusetts and higher education at Central Connecticut State University as a counselor and academic advisor. McGuire’s experience and background working with students and counselors in high school and college made the position a perfect fit for him.
McGuire is focusing on building relationships with high schools and growing the program.
“It feels like the High School Academy is at a crossroads and there’s a real opportunity to build strong relationships and grow the program,” says McGuire. “It’s like an onion with its many layers; those relationships need to start here locally in Waterbury. Get into the high schools, public and private, and make sure they feel the personal connection Post offers. Soon after we can peel back the layers of the onion, hit the road and make meaningful connections throughout Connecticut and then the Northeast.”
While McGuire sees the program expanding to the Northeast in a reasonable period, his goals don’t end there. “Ultimately, with the strength of Post’s online programming, there’s no reason why the High School Academy can’t be shared all across the US,” he says. “ I have visions of high school students in California, Alaska, Hawaii, logging on to Black Board and taking Post University classes through the High School Academy.”
Learn more about the High School Academy Program.