McNeese State University’s spring commencement was held May 13, and one student, Joseph McKinney, 17, graduated with an associate degree in general studies with a 4.0. Incredibly, 11 days later (May 24), he receiveed his diploma as an honor graduate from Westlake High School.
"Joseph is the first
ever early admission and dual enrollment student who will complete an associate
degree from McNeese at the same time that he is graduating from high school,”
says Betty Anderson, director of community services, outreach and the dual
enrollment program coordinator at McNeese. "McNeese started its early admission
program in the fall of 1999 and this is a great achievement for our program.”
One year ago, McKinney hadn’t
attended a single college class. Now, with a combination of credit from McNeese
dual enrollment coursework, AP and ACT scores and CLEP testing, he has two
years of higher education under his belt.
"Joseph purchased the Western
Civilization II textbook, read it in two days and passed the CLEP test,” says
Anderson. "Anyone who can read and master a college textbook in two days has
great potential. Joseph is a great example of the cooperative efforts of
McNeese’s early admission program and Calcasieu Parish School System’s advanced
placement program to maximize student academic achievement.”
explains that McNeese’s dual enrollment program offers many students the
opportunity to reduce their time to complete a college degree and offset some
college expenses – dual enrollment classes are only $100 per credit hour or
$120 for online classes.
cost-to-result ratio is especially important, Anderson says, as TOPS funding has
recently been reduced and students are responsible for paying a significant
share of their tuition. "Dual enrollment will cut the costs on their degree
substantially and help their TOPS dollars go further,” Anderson explains.
McKinney, the youngest of six
siblings, says cost and also location were "big factors in my decision to
McNeese dual enrollment program currently
offers courses at 32 high schools in seven parishes, including courses in
language arts, science, math, history, psychology, statistics, human anatomy
and physiology, as well as introductory classes in nursing, education,
engineering and exercise science.
"The dual enrollment program gives
students the chance to experience potential majors by taking 100 to 200 level courses
like Intro to Nursing or Intro to Education for example,” she says. "Students
can figure out relatively inexpensively if the idea they have of a major lines
up with the actual experience. It’s really giving them a jump start.”
Now, thanks to dual
enrollment, McKinney is that much closer to achieving a bachelor’s degree in chemical
engineering -- his ultimate goal. "I’ve always been pretty good in science and
math, so chemical engineering seemed like a perfect fit. Plus, engineers make
pretty good money, too,” he says.
According to the 2017
College ROI Report by PayScale, Inc., McNeese’s College of Engineering and
Computer Science ranks third among all public and private institutions in the
nation in providing one of the best 20-year net returns on investment for its
engineering majors via high earning potential and affordability.
early admission program also helps transition prospective students into college
life. McKinney said his dual enrollment
classes offered a peek into college expectations and helped him transition into
the heavier workload. "I have taken hard classes before in high school. But college
classes are at a different level. On my first quizzes in calculus and physics I
didn’t do very well. I had to start studying!” he says.
Dual enrollment also helped him improve
his scores on college entrance exams. After his science courses, McKinney
reports that his ACT science score when up "six points.” This, plus the boost
in his math scores from taking McNeese’s calculus course, helped him to qualify
for a McNeese Presidential Scholarship.
"Dual enrollment was a good
program for me,” he says. "I encourage other high school students to look into
For students who are interested in the
dual enrollment program, registration for McNeese’s fall 2017 semester is
currently underway. Students or parents can call Anderson’s office at
337-475-5615 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
to receive additional information, request a dual enrollment course packet and
get instructions on how to apply online for high school dual enrollment.