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When Grand Haven High School junior Connor Davison heard about the Northwest Ottawa County Early College Initiative, he thought it was “too good to be true.”
Krystle Wagner
Mar 5, 2014

But now, Davison is among 20 students from four area high schools — Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven and Spring Lake — that are working concurrently toward a high school diploma and associate’s degree through the first-year program.

Just past the midway point in its first year, the program allows high school juniors to take Muskegon Community College courses in addition to high school classes.

Melissa Bultema, the Early College specialist who oversees the Northwest Ottawa program, said it is for students who will “excel and push themselves.”

Although the students in the program will walk with their classmates during their high school graduation ceremony, they won’t officially graduate until the following year. During the additional year in high school, students will finish one remaining high school course in addition to college courses.

At the end of the program’s third year, students will receive both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

Davison, 17, said he’s glad to participate in the program because he will now enter college as a transfer student instead of directly out of high school.

“I think it will open a lot more doors for me,” he said.

Davison entered the program after taking a test that evaluated his reading and writing proficiency. He also submitted letters of recommendation, completed an essay and was interviewed, along with his family, during his sophomore year.

While students have to provide their own transportation, school districts pay for the college courses and books through per-pupil state funding.

Bultema said Muskegon Community College offers the courses at an in-district rate, which is currently $107 per contact hour. The program also pays for books, which averages between $150 and $200 per semester, as well as a $35 per-semester registration fee.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

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wendyswenson

Brittaney Neuman is on the left, Lauren Swenson is on the right.

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