WINNEMUCCA – Great Basin College is unveiling a new program that will give high school students the opportunity to earn their Associate of Arts degree at the same time as their high school diploma.
While this concept is not new to the college, this recently created program streamlines the process. It will create a single cohort of 20 students who will enter the program their junior year with the same goal in mind. The Pathway to Dual Graduation is open to students in Humboldt, Lander and Pershing counties as well as homeschooled students.
“We wanted to create an easy-to-follow pathway for motivated students to earn an Associate of Arts degree at the same time as their diplomas,” said GBC Winnemucca Center Director Becky Coleman.
Humboldt County School District Superintendent Dave Jensen said the implementation of an associate’s program marks a huge milestone for the district and GBC.
“This program will support students interested in post-secondary education in completing two years of prerequisite courses as they prepare to enter their chosen field,” he said. “It will save students and families both time and money, while also supporting critical learning opportunities. As a district, we have been so fortunate to have a strong partnership with GBC and have been working on this opportunity for several years. To see this work become a reality is cause to celebrate within our community.”
Jensen added that he looks forward to building this program over the course of the next several years and watching the students interested in the associate’s track meet their educational goals
Lowry High School Principal Ray Parks said the partnership between GBC and the high school will be a benefit for the high school students who enter the program.
“A pathway for our students to obtain an associate’s degree while simultaneously graduating from Lowry High School has always been our goal as a staff as it opens so many doors for our students and their futures,” he said. “Lowry High School continues to have a great working relationship with Great Basin College as we are all committed to providing every possible opportunity for our students. The pathway to an associate’s degree is yet another positive example of our continuing collaboration.”
Battle Mountain High School Principal John Stern said he is excited for the opportunity to work more collaboratively with GBC.
“We want to empower our students and give them as many opportunities as possible to grow and develop their academic skills,” he said. “Taking college classes in high school can be challenging, but it also opens doors for students and shows them that college is attainable.”
Funds raised at the center’s 2019 gala have all been dedicated to the dual graduation pathway scholarship program.
“It is especially exciting to be able to utilize the funds the community donated to our center to provide this amazing opportunity for our local students,” Coleman said. “Future fundraising events will continue to fund the scholarship program and enable GBC to expand future capacity. With the wonderful support of the community and a scholarship program specifically dedicated to dual credit students, we’re able to remove the financial barrier that could hold some students back.”
The program will require participants to take 12-16 credits per semester as well as summer courses. The required courses include history, economics, psychology, information systems and biology to name a few. Students will take many of these classes live at the Winnemucca Center with their fellow high school students.
While the “pathway” is specific to earn an AA degree, the classes chosen include many of the prerequisites students need to enter the health sciences programs or are general education requirements for career technical programs such as Electrical Systems Technology, which is offered at the Winnemucca Center.
“As space allows, we’ll be able to help students who already know they want to enter one of our CTE programs or others who want to apply to our very competitive nursing program,” Coleman added.
Students must have a 3.0 GPA and qualifying placement test scores to get in as well as agreement between their parents/guardians and their high schools. If more than 20 students wish to enter the program, there will be a competitive application process.
The first step is attending a mandatory Information Session March 23 at 6 p.m. at the college or via Zoom. Students can register through their high school counselors or by emailing Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who has questions or would like more information can email Coleman or call (775) 623-4824.