Cheyenne Hewins has to keep her caps and gowns — yes, plural — in completely separate rooms of her house. While one is for Eastern Greene High School and the other for Ivy Tech Community College, both gowns are the same shade of black, with just minute details differentiating the two.
“I hope I don’t mix them up,” Hewins said.
This Friday, Hewins will graduate from Ivy Tech with an Indiana College Core Technical Certificate, a little more than a week before her high school graduation.
This makes her one of 144 high school students known as “early college graduates” within Ivy Tech Bloomington’s 2022 graduating class. These early graduates hail from various high schools in the area, including Bloomington North, Bloomfield, Edgewood and Martinsville.
By participating in dual enrollment classes, these seniors have earned a certificate, Associate of General Studies or an Indiana College Core technical certificate prior to graduating high school. This allows them to begin college with the entire core of 30 credit hours completed.
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High school students’ view on college classes
Hewins participated in dual enrollment through Eastern Greene alongside several of her classmates. She never had to step foot on Ivy Tech Bloomington’s campus because her college classes were delivered in a classroom at Eastern Greene. Sisters Harley Chipman and Shaylin Hendricks participated in a similar program at Bloomfield High School.
Though their learning environment didn’t change, the three high school seniors noted the college classes were definitely an adjustment.
Because college classes span one single semester rather than an entire academic year, the classes felt more fast-paced, Chipman said.
Hewins, who plans to attend Indiana University for a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, had to work on her time management to balance her college courses.
“Throughout most of my school career, I’ve kind of been able to skate by. And then, when I started taking the college classes, I couldn’t do that anymore,” Hewins said. “If I wanted to meet my standards for myself with my grades, I had to definitely work a lot harder.”
Hendricks said the course load allowed her to feel more independent as a student. Some of Hendricks’ classes even used “hands-on learning.” For Hendricks’ animal science class, the instructor brought her own farm animals into class.
“That’s the best way for me to learn,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks, who plans to attend Ball State University for its pre-veterinary program, said she was able to take advanced courses like animal science and biology specific to her interests and career goals. Hendricks has earned an Indiana College Core Technical Certificate in General Studies.
While most early graduates have earned certificates for 30 completed credit hours, a few like Chipman will graduate from Ivy Tech with an associate’s degree of general studies.
Chipman said she had been shocked to hear that she was so close to finishing with a full associate’s degree before high school ends, but the revelation motivated her to work harder in ensuring that she would graduate with 60 credit hours under her belt.
Chipman, who plans to attend Ivy Tech in the fall to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing, said this has given her a head start in her goal of becoming a registered nurse.
All three students said they will be more prepared to continue their college career in the fall.
“I will probably go into college being a lot more prepared, even though I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing,” Hewins said.
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Ivy Tech Bloomington graduation this weekend
Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus will host its annual Commencement Ceremony at 6 pm Friday, May 13, at the Indiana University Auditorium. Approximately 1,500 graduates will receive associate degrees or certifications. Graduate Carrie Biddle, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society president who has earned an associate’s in nursing, will deliver the commencement address.
An honorary associate degree in college and community service will be awarded to Tina Peterson. Peterson is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Bloomington & Monroe County and Regional Opportunity Initiatives and will be recognized for her work in advancing education and economic prosperity in the region.
Contact Rachel Smith at [email protected] or @RachelSmithNews on Twitter.