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Summit offers highschoolers accelerated learning experiences

Chemeketa’s Winema campus, home to Bldg. 50 and the Summit dual credit program. 
Photo by Christopher Ward

Chemeketa’s Summit dual credit program offers high school students a chance to earn high school and college credit by taking college classes. 

Summit offers a dual credit program that allows students between ages 16 and 20 to work toward a high school diploma and an associates degree simultaneously as they attend college classes at Chemeketa. Summit enables students to fast track their highschool experience and begin working towards their future. 

The president of Chemeketa’s Faculty Association, Justus Ballard, mentioned that one of Summit’s unique qualities is the experience it provides. “A goal of dual credit education is to give high school students a taste of the college experience.” 

Most high schools achieve this by providing students with Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Ballard said. “They get a bit of a taste of what a college-level workload would be. However, they are still in high school, and they are still going about their day in a very structured high school student way…The experience is never going to be the same as actually coming on to a college campus.” 

Most dual credit programs, like Salem/Keizer Early College, require students to attend both high school and college classes, but Summit allows students to attend only Chemeketa college courses and receive credit toward both, said Summit Adviser Nathan Shay. 

The program offers a scholarship, and books are loaned to students in exchange for volunteer hours. “They cover a good amount of tuition,” said Summer Shurland, a Summit student.

Summit’s application process is straightforward, requiring applicants to fulfill a list of prerequisites. The first step is to receive an application from the administration office in Bldg. 50. Applicants must pass an English and Math placement test, and then students will attend a brief Early College Orientation.

According to Shay, there are specific requirements students must meet to stay in the program. Beyond maintaining good academic standing, students are required to take 12 credit hours each term, meet with academic advisors before picking their course schedule and they must attend classes in Bldg. 50 for two terms. These rules can help both teachers and students through the transition from high school to college mindset, he added. 

This rule can be flexible, depending on student needs. “If the [Summit] students needed to take a class in the main campus for graduation, and they don’t offer it here…they are able to take it up there [on the main campus].”

Shay says it’s important for incoming Summit students to start their education in the Bldg. 50 hub. “All the instructors [in Bldg. 50] are hired through the high school partnership program, so they know they have high school aged students in classes.”

High school graduates through the Summit program are invited to join Chemeketa’s graduation ceremony and walk the line in June.

Summit can be found on the Winema Campus in Bldg. 50, Rm. 102.

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