The phrase “high-achieving students” seems inadequate to describe Sabine and Violette Smith of Groveland, 17-year-old identical twins who are not only graduating from Pentucket Regional High School a year early but also with high honors from Northern Essex Community College with their associate degrees in liberal arts.
They were to graduate from Northern Essex on Saturday, May 15.
How is this possible? Through NECC’s dual enrollment program, which allows high school students to earn college credit and get an affordable head start on their college degree, thanks to tuition discounts.
“They wanted to just really gain a head start when it came to college and the plans that they had in the future,” said Josselyn Guzman, assistant director of NECC’s PK-12 Partnership and Early College program.
Sabine and Violette were looking for a new and different academic experience when they discovered the dual enrollment option at NECC.
“I think it was really interesting to try a new format,” Violette said. “The college format of the different courses was great, and I really liked all the different professors.”
In addition to stretching themselves academically, dual enrollment at NECC and taking college-level courses helped Sabine and Violette gain clarity about the careers they’d like to pursue.
For instance, Sabine always thought that she might do something in the sciences but taking liberal arts classes at NECC helped her realize that she’s interested in writing, journalism and history.
“After I took all these classes, I was much more interested in all the different writing and history classes,” she said.
After their graduations, Sabine and Violette are applying to four-year colleges for fall 2022. In the meantime, they’re taking a study abroad gap-year program in Greece focused on art and writing.
“You get to get immersed in a different culture,” Violette said. “I think it’s good to be able to see things from like around the globe and be able to experience education in different places as well.”
“Students gain a sense of confidence and a sense of belonging very early on in their years as a high school student but they learn what that’s like on a college campus,” Guzman said. “That confidence skill has already been built and really helps them shine.”
Both Sabine and Violette agree.
“It like really helped prepare me, personally, for what to expect when I go to a four-year college or pursue other academic experiences,” Sabine said. “I think it also really helped me to be more independent and just really be prepared.”
Guzman said there are many benefits to early college beyond affordability and a chance to earn college credits.
To learn more about Early College and dual enrollment opportunities at Northern Essex, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about Northern Essex, go to www.necc.mass.edu.