HAVERHILL — At a time when most high school students are trying to decide which colleges to attend and what classes to take when they get there, these kids are one step ahead.
And it’s a big step that helps their transition to college life.
While they are still juniors and seniors at Haverhill High School, dozens of students are also taking classes at UMass Lowell.
It’s become a trend at Haverhill High, with about 40 juniors and seniors taking classes offered by the college during the last two years.
The classes vary from writing to engineering. The students participate in an Early College partnership with UMass Lowell, taking College Writing and Introduction to Engineering I and II.
If they complete the courses successfully, they will have college transcripts at UMass Lowell, with academic credits that can be transferred to any other state college or university.
Meg Keppler, the district’s curriculum coordinator for Science, said the engineering course has two components. Students who successfully complete Introduction to Engineering I in the fall semester can take Intro to Engineering II in the spring, she said. Most students who start the course move on to the second phase, she said.
Engineering students receive two college credits for each semester-long course. Writing students receive three college credits for their course. These are the same numbers of credits earned by students at UMass Lowell. The classes also count for one credit of math and English Language Arts at Haverhill High.
The program is open to juniors and seniors who have a grade-point average of at least 3.0. The engineering program began in the spring semester of last year. The college writing program began in the fall.
A Haverhill High guidance counselor suggested senior Julia Garbec consider the writing class. Garbec said she wanted a challenging English class, but feared Advanced Placement English would be too much for her. Now, she thinks she made the right choice.