Get College Credit Straight

As seniors get ready to take their diploma with most going off to college, the rest of the grade levels are left with one looming question: How am I supposed to get into college? Unfortunately, the road to higher education is not an easy one, and it can often be very confusing and overwhelming. OnRamps and Dual Credit classes are all programs to help students gain college credit in high school, however, these classes can often make things more difficult for students to get the credits they need.


Access to college credit needs to be more straightforward.


OnRamps is credit through UT Austin and Dual Credit is through Alamo Colleges, but that isn’t the only thing that separates them. Students going into a Dual Credit class for the first time are required to complete a lengthy amount of steps that include signing up for Alamo Colleges and the program, as well as filling out a series of forms just to get accepted into the class. If a student’s PSAT score doesn’t meet a certain average, then that student is required to take the TSI if they want to be in a Dual Credit class, whether they are new to the program or not. Many students get overwhelmed by all of this, and some give up on trying to be in Dual Credit because of how many hoops they have to jump through just to earn an extra credit.


While there is no complicated application, OnRamps isn’t any easier than Dual Credit. The curriculum for Dual Credit classes doesn’t change compared to AP classes, however OnRamps classes have entirely different assignments and lessons. The students complete all of their assignments through UT Canvas, where they have work for their high school class, and work for the college. The assignments are considerably harder, if you don’t submit a college assignment on time, the university locks the task online, so it is no longer accessible. At the end of the semester, students are required to look at their final grade and decide if they want to accept the college credit or not. If they decline the credit, then they won’t have anything on their college transcript. This just defeats the whole purpose for the students and makes it feel like all the work they put into it was pointless.


This year students found out that if they are not in a Dual Credit English class this year, then they can’t be in a Dual Credit English next year. The only exception is if OnRamps English students this year accept their college grade both semesters. This only makes things more complicated because students who did not do as well in their OnRamps English class as they wanted, are prevented from being in a Dual Credit curriculum next year. This can be problematic for future seniors who had their year planned for their credits and their college career. 


A way to reduce stress for students in high school, and especially upperclassmen, is if the road to college credit can be made more accessible. It would be beneficial to have students sign up for the class they want, whether or not they are in OnRamps or Dual Credit, and for the students to be able to get the aid they need to hae a good start to their college transcript. The application process and extra training for teachers who have to manage these college classes would make the dynamic of the classroom much better.


Many students want to make life a little easier on themselves and earn some college credits while in high school so they can focus on their major. Schools make it increasingly difficult for students to achieve this though. It ramps up the stress levels and work load, and makes it more confusing when it comes to transferring the credit or even getting into the class. There needs to be a change in structure so kids can feel more comfortable about their future.

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