Idaho City High School Has First Student in Boise County Earn AA               


In 2014, the state of Idaho launched its dual credit program for high school seniors. This program enables students to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school.  Each public school student is given an allocation of  $4,125 to use towards Advanced Opportunities in grades 7-12. The number of students in Idaho utilizing this Fast Forward program to earn college credits has been steadily increasing since its inception.  In 2019 Idaho had 26,240 public high school students earn college credits.  188 of these students earned enough credits while in high school to graduate with an associate degree.

Although we are a small school, our students have achieved great results. Idaho City High School is proud to be the first school in Boise County to have a student earn a college degree in conjunction with a high school diploma.  Jason Carignan, class of 2019, began taking dual credit classes during his freshman year of high school.  In total, he was able to earn 63 college credits and graduate Summa Cum Laude from College of Western Idaho with a 4.0 GPA.  He was admitted into a highly competitive college that has a less than 10% acceptance rate for students with his major.

Jason learned that in order to manage the demands of a typical high school student and athlete, as well as manage college level classes, he needed to set a schedule and prioritize activities.  Colleges will have strict deadlines and sometimes social activities will need to be sacrificed in order to fulfill the requirements of a dual credit class. Finding the balance to meet necessary deadlines is feasible with advanced planning.

Time management can be difficult for Idaho City High School students wanting to challenge themselves by utilizing Advanced Opportunities to take college level classes while in high school, possibly earning their associate degree.  In order to be successful, a student needs to be self-motivated, focused, and dedicated.  While this transition can be demanding, there is an abundance of support at the high school level.  Students and parents will need to receive guidance by the school counselor in order to understand how dual credits and Advanced Opportunities work.  The high school counselor is happy to help students create a personalized plan to accommodate dual credit classes.  The earlier a student expresses their interest to the counselor and begins devising their individual learning plan, the easier it will be to schedule the necessary dual credit classes.

There are many benefits to taking college level classes.  Taking dual credit classes can save a student up to two years’ worth of college tuition.  This can earn a student sophomore or junior standing when entering college, enabling them to register for classes ahead of students in the incoming freshman class.  Students who take college level classes are more likely to obtain a college degree and earn higher grades while in college.  Students will be more prepared for full-time college and their career and minimize the number of credits still required to receive a college diploma.  Taking these classes during high school gives students an idea what college courses will be like when they continue their education and allows them first-hand exposure to college-level work while still in high school where they will have support from high school staff to help ensure success.   It also allows students the ability to explore their interests in-depth and to be exposed to subjects that aren’t currently offered at Idaho City High School. 

If a high school student wishes to take advantage of the Advanced Opportunities benefit, he has the option to take as many classes as he wishes up to the equivalent of $4,125.  The Advanced Opportunities program pays for the college tuition portion of the dual credit class. If a student takes, and passes, just one college level class while in high school, he can save an estimate of $1,000 in future college tuition. 

During the 2015-2016 school year, Idaho City High School students earned a total of 37 college credits.  The amount of dual credits earned has been steadily increasing each year.  During th 2019-2020 school year students will have earned a total of 439 college credits.  This is an increase of 1086.49%, indicating that students are earning nearly 11 times more college credits at Idaho City High School in just five years.  

Dual Credit counselors at College of Western Idaho have been very helpful to our students seeking a dual credit associate degree.  Idaho City High School has created an outline of classes that can be taken in conjunction with College of Western Idaho for students wishing to earn a Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree. With careful planning and by substituting college level classes for some high school level classes, students should be able to accomplish earning an associate degree without taking any additional classes during the school year.  If the student is intending to attend an out-of-state college, it would be wise to check with those colleges that are being considered to understand what credits are able to be transfered.  The main thing to remember is to be proactive with your education.  Make sure you meet with the school counselor about dual enrollment classes.  Now is the time to set goals, create a plan for success, and get the most out of the challenges that high school brings. Taking dual credit classes is a great way to be in charge of your own education.