Paradise Valley Community College has partnered with public, charter school Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center (AAEC) to jump-start students’ higher education goals while still in high school. By offering concurrent classes, students earn college credit while still attending high school. Talk about killing two birds with one stone; it’s a high school experience unlike any other.
The program offered through AAEC allows eligible students to start taking college classes in their second semester of ninth grade and is designed to help families save time and money by enabling students to attend PVCC for free while still in high school. AAEC pays the college tuition and students have full access to PVCC resources including student life, library, student union, fine arts, computer labs and more. The goal is to give students the ability to complete the majority of their prerequisites before graduation and shave off one-to-two years of their college expenses, completing their bachelor’s in half the time. It also is a great way for students to familiarize themselves with the rigor and expectations college-life can create, as well as campus resources and various types of support.
“Most of these resources are normally not available in a typical high school,” said AAEC’s Principal Jack Chang. “At AAEC, our students are able to use PVCC’s credited course work towards their high school graduation. For example, many of our students finish the majority of their pre-med prerequisites, and then apply directly to medical programs right after high school graduation.”
Chang explained that AAEC has about 350 students and each semester, approximately 150-to-200 students enroll at PVCC. “About 25% of our students finish their Associate's degree, and on average, students usually finish anywhere from 25-to-60 college credits before high school graduation.”
“This program is geared toward the academically motivated,” said Dr. Audrey Delfina Moreno, PVCC’s director of Early College Programs. “It’s a lot of work but a lot of reward. These students realize the advantages to a program like this and want to take advantage of the services offered.”
To capture a glimpse of the program’s success, check out the testimonials below.
- Lilli Offenberger (18) decided to enroll at PVCC to grow academically and socially. Her experience has been one of a kind. She has learned how to balance her time between high school and college and how to interact with students from all different backgrounds. Her favorite class is Sustainable Cities (SSHIII), where they discuss global issues and how we can make it better.
- Heart Carbonell (16) decided to enroll at PVCC because her sister did the same program and said it was a great way to get a head start on her career. Heart is interested in pursuing a degree in the medical field, concurrent enrollment has helped her work on the prerequisites. Her favorite class so far has been English 101. Her teacher makes the class engaging and time flies by without even realizing it. She found that her professors and staff have been extremely supportive.
- Sydney Carlson (17) enrolled at PVCC to earn college credit in a professional and mature environment. She appreciates being in a classroom with others who care about learning and take their assignments seriously. Sydney believes she is prepared to transfer to a university, thanks to the experience she received at PVCC. Her favorite class so far is Mat220, because the professor is caring and takes the time to explain everything.
- Sydney Davis (17) struggled for years on what she wanted to do and what route to pursue in life. PVCC offers affordable classes and helped Sydney find out what she is truly passionate about. “It’s a fun challenge that allowed me to be better equated in the real world and have a good head start to my academic career,” Sydney explains. Her favorite class so far has been sign language. She has been able to learn a beautiful language, in a fast-paced environment with a supportive faculty. Sydney is a Senior and will complete her AA this year before her high school graduation.
- Jared Faraci (17) decided to enroll at PVCC because he heard amazing things from other students and wanted to experience it firsthand. The staff and professors have been super helpful and the amenities for students are outstanding. The transition from high school classes to college courses has been very smooth, thanks to the help he has received. His favorite class is Intro to Criminal Justice and Victimology & Crisis Management. “I loved the class because it was taught by a current Scottsdale police officer. She was able to bring in real life situations and personal experiences to help us better understand what we were learning,” said Jared.
- Joy Willis (16) wanted to take advantage of the benefits of concurrent enrollment. She fell in love with her Art Class at PVCC. “The atmosphere is welcoming and intended to be low-stress. Most of the work is done in class, and I don’t have to worry about being overloaded with multiple assignments,” explains Joy. “I absolutely recommend it.”