October 2023, Opinion

The Early College program benefits everyone

Students enter a new age when entering a university – new friends, new adversities, new triumphs, new everything. But for some students at SAU, things are somewhat different – students in the Early College program.

SAU students have gotten used to high school students being on campus – attending classes, participating in activities and just being a part of everyday life. Some may like the program but others may hate the idea of high schoolers alongside them in classrooms. As one of those Early College students, I have to say that the presence of high schoolers on SAU’s campus benefits both college and high school students.

The Early College program at SAU is officially called the Wake Young Leadership Academy, or WYLA for short. The school is located less than a minute away from SAU. The Early College students you see every day are 11th and 12th graders.

Overall we have to meet the requirements as college students when it comes to schedules except we may have an added high school class sprinkled in.

As an Early College student, I have numerous opportunities from attending college while still in high school. I get to take part in extracurricular activities not available in high school, I have mentorship opportunities and resources I would not be getting, etc. I’m basically getting certain experiences earlier than the usual high school student.

There are some drawbacks, however. As an Early College student, my regular high school experience is forfeited almost immediately. The idea of a regular schedule, regular lunch, regular everything was thrown out the day I enrolled for Early College. Like everything in the world, there’s the good and the bad.
For college students, the benefits of having high schoolers around may seem small. However, the Early College at SAU is not filled with ordinary high schoolers.

In most cases, the high school kids that attend SAU are exceptional students that most of the time are on par with college students. In rare cases, some EC students even surpass college students. In general, EC students make a positive contribution to the courses they take at SAU.

In the grand scheme of things, Early College benefits to the university often get overlooked. Some may even laugh at the thought of high school students making a big contribution to a college campus. Yet Early College students often get high grades at SAU.

We often participate in class more than regular college students, and we make up a large portion of some clubs at SAU. Personally, I tutor college students in multiple classes of mine.

I strongly believe that Early College students are crucial for the university. The integration of high school and regular students allows both groups to experience a different outlook on life. Early College students get to be in a setting where they can learn from more mature students. And college students get to interact with teenagers who are highly motivated and may came from a different racial and demographic group.

The differences don’t separate us but make us stronger.

— Simeon Davis