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Kent State University Offers High School Students a Head Start

Posted April 7, 2014 | Morgan Jupina
enter photo description
Kent State University's Dual Enrollment programs allow
qualified high school students the opportunity to take
college-level courses on campus or online.

Kent State University opens many doors of opportunity for all students, including those in high school.

Dual Enrollment Programs, a department within Kent State’s Division of Undergraduate Studies, allows qualified high school students the opportunity to take college-level courses on campus or online. Upon successful completion of the coursework, students can earn both high school and college credits. Additional benefits of participating in these programs include experiencing the challenge of college coursework, becoming acclimated to the university environment and reducing the amount of time required for degree completion, which may result in reduced need for financial aid support and student loans.

Cara White, academic program officer for dual enrollment, says dual enrollment offers two opportunities for Ohio high school students – the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option Program (PSEOP) and the Dual Credit program.

The PSEOP allows qualified Ohio high school students the opportunity to take undergraduate coursework on campus or online through distance learning courses. Students are not charged for tuition and most course materials are also provided free of charge. The Dual Credit program allows qualified students the opportunity to take college coursework in the high school classroom with an approved instructor. Depending on the agreement between the university and the high school, students may also take online coursework.

White says Kent State is one of few schools in the state that offers distance-learning opportunities for high school students. Some students who participate in the Dual Credit program live several hours away from the Kent Campus. Some live nearby other universities, but instead take advantage of the online courses available through Kent State. According to White, in fall 2013, 158 online course sections held seats for 114 Dual Enrollment students for the Fall 2013 Semester.

“We have a lot of students who are closer to other universities but still want to take classes through the Kent Campus,” says White. “I think the name ‘Kent State’ encourages them to get their credits here because we’re so well-established.”

White says there are admission requirements to qualify for both programs. First, the high school student must have at least a 23 ACT composite score or a combined 1070 score on the SAT (Math and Reading). Students also are required to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher on their high school transcript. In addition to the GPA and test requirements, students are required to submit recommendation forms from their high school guidance counselor and from two high school teachers.

One major benefit of participating in a dual enrollment program is saved time and money.

“In the fall and spring semesters, students are able to take these classes free of charge,” says White. “Cost and tuition is covered by the school district. Most course materials, including borrowed textbooks, are also provided to students free of charge.”

She says students save more than $1,300 for each three-hour credit course. White says the program also gives students a head start and 89 percent of students graduate in three years or less.

Emily LaSpina
, a high school senior who has earned enough college credits to be at senior-level standing, says she has been enrolled in the program for three years as a PSEOP student, taking coursework towards a degree in pre-med.

“I was going to a private high school and they wouldn’t let me take any college-level courses,” says LaSpina. “The more I looked into the program, I realized I met all the qualifications and decided to just take all of my classes at Kent State.”

LaSpina says she is currently taking 18 credit hours, Monday through Friday at the Kent Campus. Her courses include physics, biological foundations and children’s literature.

She says she has benefitted tremendously from her experience as a PSEOP student.

“I’m so used to being around the college kids, and I feel this has helped me grow and mature a lot,” says LaSpina. “It’s even helped me with public speaking and feeling more comfortable in those types of situations.”

As a high school senior, LaSpina has already completed two years of her college degree and expects to graduate in 2016.

White says it is important to let high school students take the ACT early to see if they qualify for the program.

“Every student should take the opportunity if they meet the requirements,” says White. “Let students get their feet wet and take one class just to experience a college-level course early and decide if this program is for them.”

For more information about Kent State’s Dual Enrollment Programs, visit