Concurrent enrollment program draws younger

Sena Schmidt

The number of students enrolled in Pierce College’s concurrent enrollment program is growing, and the students are getting younger.

“If the student looks 14-years-old, they probably are,” said Izzy Goodman, president of the Pierce Academic Senate.

Concurrent student enrollment at Pierce, students in kindergarten through 12th grade, has reached 1,548 students, a majority of whom are still in high school.

At the Academic Senate Meeting, Oct. 23 Shelley Gerstl, dean of admissions and records, told the group that the number of students enrolled in college courses through the program is growing, and that many of the students are younger than those participating in previous years.

In order to become accepted into the college, the concurrent student must take the same placement tests and prerequisite courses as any other student and because they are viewed as being the same as any other adult attending the campus, their academic status is not shared with their parents unless permitted by the student themselves.

One problem that was discussed among teachers was about the subject matter being taught in classes such as psychology where the numerous amounts of underage students are registered.

A question many of the Pierce professors ask themselves is, “Are some of these students mature enough to handle the class’ content?”

It is such a stringent process in accepting young students onto the campus since it requires a lot of work on the part of both parent and student who not only have to fill out numerous forms but personal statements arguing why they feel early enrollment would be beneficial to their academic careers.

Normally, if their professors feel the student is not mature enough to complete the courses, Gerstl is the advisor who meets with the parent and student.

However, she strongly urges the professors to advise the underage student to speak up if they feel uncomfortable with a class discussion.

Regardless of the apprehension from professors and administrators, about enrolling so many young students, it is very much illegal to place a limit on concurrent enrollment by age or by placement.

The PAS meets every second Monday of the month from 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the College Services Building conference room.


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