Getting a Bachelor's Degree in Three Years
Posted by Brandon Hedges & Matt Barker on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM By Brandon Hedges & Matt Barker / April 30, 2014 Comment
[caption id="attachment_234147" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Leah Putz (middle)[/caption] When I tell people I’m graduating college in a few weeks, I get bombarded with questions- “How old are you?” – “Didn’t you just graduate high school?” – or sometimes even just, “How did you manage that?!” My answers to the first two questions are simple- “I just turned 21” – and – “Yep, I left high school in 2011.” The answer to the last question is a bit more complicated. My road to graduating college two semesters early began my sophomore year of high school, as that was the year I took my first A.P. class. A.P. is short for Advanced Placement, and it’s the nickname given to college level classes offered in many Minnesota high schools. At the end of these courses, students are given an A.P. test, and if they score high enough on the test then they are given college credit for the course. These courses are more difficult and dole out more homework, but if the test is passed, the student won’t have to take that class in college. Throughout my high school career, I took six of these classes. While that sounds like I loaded up, I spread them out so I could manage my homework levels. I took one sophomore year, two as a junior, and three as a senior. I received mediocre test scores on the A.P. tests, but that was still enough to earn me college credit for all six of the courses I took. As well as taking A.P. classes, I opted to take a few classes at the Inver Hills Community College under the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option, or PSEO. This option allows high school students to enroll in classes at a college of their choice for free, earning both high school and college credits for these classes. I spread these courses out as well, taking just two per year my junior and senior years so I could manage them with my A.P. classes. I also decided to only take classes that were offered online. This made it a lot easier to manage my time as I didn’t have to try to rush from around from school to school to make it to my classes. The online option gave me the opportunity to work on my course work when I had time during the week. Looking back, I’m not sure how I managed this all, considering I was also working two part time jobs. I remember doing homework in my car between school and work, and then getting home at 10:30 and staying up until one in the morning finishing homework. And then getting up the next morning and doing it all over again. While it’s definitely not ideal, all of this hard work made it possible for me to enter college as a sophomore.