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Osakis Voices: Students get early jump on college

Osakis High School students are given the opportunity to start their college careers early because we offer College in the High School (CIHS) classes. Altogether, students can earn up to 60 college credits while still in high school without ever leaving OHS. They earn these credits through several colleges, among them the University of Minnesota, M State Fergus Falls, and Alexandria Technical and Community College. To qualify for CIHS, students must have a 3.0 GPA (for U of M classes) or pass the Accuplacer test.

When asked about the CIHS experience, students commented, "It's very beneficial because you get one-on-one interaction with your teachers and it's a smaller class size" (Megan Peikert). "It's a great way to save money" (Morgan Herzog). "It's a nice step between college and high school classes" (Kylie Anderson). "It is nice to figure out what college is going to be like and you are not with strangers" (Lauren Scherr). "You can get your generals done and possibility get better grades than on the college campus" (Jaden Klimek). "It gives you a good look at what college is going to be like and gives you head start on what college professors will expect" (Muriah Adolphsen).

Taking college classes while in high school helps students to nurture better study habits which is beneficial now and when they arrive on campus. Several students added that if CIHS students use their time wisely, they won't have much more homework than they do in their regular classes. Some of the CIHS classes require that students take the "higher math pathway," which means that starting in eighth grade, students have to already decide if they are going to take the college classes when they get to be juniors. The benefit is that having started on that pathway as eighth graders, students can get into the college classes by meeting the criteria when they are juniors.

Another great benefit to taking CIHS classes is the cost savings. OHS provides all of the textbooks that the classes require. The school also pays the students' tuition which generally runs between $300 and $400 per credit. A three-credit class adds up to around $1,000, a sum students will not have to pay later. Students who take CIHS classes often start on campus as sophomores — a guarantee usually of more benefits like being able to have a car on campus, not being required to live in a dorm, etc.

All in all, we are pleased that we can give so many of our students a jump start on their college education and save them money in the process. The classes are challenging and rewarding and help our students in many ways.

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.