By: Ryan Scott
Mesa Community College offers several various programs for students under the age of 18 who would like to attend and take college level courses before graduating high school.
Dual enrollment programs offer high school students the chance to take classes that will earn them college credit but are taught by high school instructors and are taken with other high school students.
However, programs such as concurrent enrollment allow for younger students to actually attend college courses on campus with other college age students.
“I really enjoy it … I like the challenge,” said 12 year old MCC student Ryan Kelley.
Kelley is currently taking MAT102 at the MCC main campus and has taken other courses as well. Prior to his college courses he was being home schooled and said that the experience overall has been great and that it hasn’t negatively impacted his life outside of school.
The process for students such as Kelley to get into these classes has some extra steps and hurdles that other MCC students won’t have to go through.
Students under the age of 16 have to go with their parents to meet with the appropriate department chairs for the classes that they are hoping to take and get
a signature from the department chair in order to be admitted into the class.
Paul Hietter is in his fifth year as the chair for the social science department and has had some experience with such students.
“I generally assume that if the kid is coming in they can handle it,” Hietter said. “I’ve never denied anyone, but there have only been a handful overall in my time.”
Hietter explained that he generally leaves it up to the parents and said that if they feel their kid is ready, then they would know best.
For students over the age of 16, though they are till younger the instructors don’t have to have the prior interaction with them before being allowed to attend a college class which allows them to blend in a bit.
“I don’t treat them any different … there have been times where I didn’t know (their age) until halfway through the semester,” Hietter said.
For more information on the dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment programs at MCC stop by building NU162 on the MCC main campus.