More Begin College at Square Two

It’s clear that college students are changing rapidly. Today’s students are different from their predecessors—even from just a handful of years ago. And the differences go beyond the cell phones, tablets and laptops they carry.

Nebraska Wesleyan University watches shifts and trends carefully to make informed decisions about how it too should change. One trend is especially noteworthy to University College Dean Jack Siemsen. He’s witnessed a significant increase in the number of students graduating from high school with a few college credits already in their pockets.

“A little over 24,000 Nebraskans are leaving high school and entering college this year,” Siemsen said. “And we estimate they’re bringing with them about 65,000 college credits.”

They earned those credits in various concurrent enrollment programs. Nebraska Wesleyan University is well positioned to reach students looking for a head start in college thanks to its own concurrent enrollment program: the Wesleyan Honors Academy. The program allows qualified high school teachers to offer their advanced level courses for college credit.

“Our Honors Academy is the only nationally accredited concurrent enrollment program in the state,” Siemsen said. And many Honors Academy students become NWU students after high school. “Right now, 13 percent of our student body earned credits in high school through the Honors Academy,” Siemsen said. “And that figure promises to keep rising steadily in the years to come.”

This brand of proactive high school student who is motivated to get an early start in college is exactly the kind of engaged student Nebraska Wesleyan University wants to attract.