For Kassidy Mathis, graduating from high school and community college at the same time reinforces that she is a self-motivated student.
Mathis will receive her associate in arts college transfer degree from Southwestern Community College May 10, just days before she receives her high school diploma from Smoky Mountain High School. As a dual-enrolled student, Mathis has taken tuition-free college-credit courses in cooperation with SCC.
“I’ve saved time and money,” said Mathis of Sylva. “Plus, it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn to manage my time better.”
Her friend Shandell Pannell, also of Sylva, wanted to do something different, rather than just regular high school. “I didn’t want so many years of college either so dual enrollment was perfect for me,” said Pannell, who, like Mathis, will receive her associates in arts degree from SCC in May and her Smoky Mountain High School diploma in June.
“The experience helped prepare me for when I go to Western Carolina University,” said Pannell. “I will already know what it is like to take college courses.”
Cindy Thompson, SCC’s College Access liaison, confirmed that dual enrollment works best for the student who is self motivated, independent and willing to work hard.
Hannah Caplinger of Sylva is a dual-enrollment student. “I’m a pretty independent person and dualenrollment does give you a lot of independence.”
“At the same time, this program has given Hannah a sense of community; she really found her niche on SCC’s campus,” said her mother, Kristen Caplinger.
Jeddidiah Griffin, dual-enrolled at Swain County High School and SCC, appreciated the variety and challenge of SCC’s college courses, especially outdoor leadership.
“It’s the only class I ever took where you can get an A for rock climbing!” said this student who lives in Whittier.
Griffin was able to get all of his general education courses completed so when he transfers to Carson Newman he can concentrate on his major - biochemistry. What transfers with him is a 4.0 grade point average and 35 course hours in the honors program.
“What you also get by taking courses on Southwestern’s campus is a lot of life experiences,” said a home-schooled Megan Boland of Cullowhee. “I’ve met the most interesting students in my classes and it’s refreshing to take courses where the instructors are always willing to help you.”
Boland decided on the dual-enrollment route because she has always been an ambitious person. “But I didn’t think I was any good at chemistry…then I took Intro to Chemistry, liked it so well I went on take organic and bio chemistry.”
George Whisnant, a home-schooled student from Whittier, signed up for dual enrollment so he could take advanced classes, like trigonometry. Whisnant said the advanced courses and the time management skills he learned will be of great benefit in pursuing his engineering degree.