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High school mulls boosting college credit classes at HS

Estacada High School is hoping to expand its offerings of college credit classes that students can take while still in high school.

“One thing we’d like to work on with the superintendent and the school board is to expand our options with Clackamas Community College, to allow our seniors to meet graduation requirements and to pay for them to begin their college careers,” said Ryan Carpenter, principal at the high school.

Estacada High already offers several “college-in-high-school” possibilities for students who are ready for this type of challenge.

Estacada High students can chose among four AP (advanced placement) classes. AP classes are college-level classes administered by the national College Board organization, which offers 38 of these rigorous options. The Estacada High School AP classes are Spanish, psychology and two English classes.

AP classes culminate in an optional test at the end of the class. The test is scored one through five and some colleges will give a student credit for classes if they score a three or better on the test.

Another option for Estacada High students is the result of a partnership with Clackamas Community College. Estacada offers students seven ACC (advanced college credit) classes, which grant CCC credits. These classes are: accounting I and II, mechanics, drawing, painting, pre-calculus and calculus.

Estacada High School also offers five honors courses, although they don’t carry college credits. They are more challenging classes and prepare students better for college.

There can be huge advantages for students taking college classes in high school.

Earning college credits in high school can save students and their check-writing parents a lot of money. Top students at some high schools in Oregon take enough college credits in high school to enter college as sophomores, sometimes even juniors.

That can really add up to big savings. Not counting any financial aid, a year at University of Oregon costs about $25,000 and a year at a private college can very easily cost twice that.

College admission officers also look favorably on students who have stretched themselves by taking the most difficult classes a high school offers, even if the college doesn’t accept the credits.

Some colleges that won’t accept credits, will allow students to use them to skip survey courses and move into higher-level classes. These college-level classes also prepare the student better for the rigors of college classes.

Principal Carpenter doesn’t have a specific plan for boosting the number of Clackamas Community College classes available for EHS students, but “we’re going to see if we can plan the logistics of that idea.”