A male student sits at a desk with a female student to the right.
Dawson Elks in his Public Speaking class with other college students.

Is Career and College Promise the New Norm?

High school students on a college campus are no longer rare. In fact, high school juniors and seniors attending community college may become the new norm. Career and College Promise is a state program that allows high school students to start their college courses at no cost before graduating. Beaufort County Community College will host a Career and College Promise Information Night on March 5 at 6:00 p.m. in Building 8 to explain the popular program to parents and students.

Dawson Elks, a senior at Washington High School in his second year of classes at BCCC, said that admissions officers looked favorably on his community college classes.

“They saw that I was ready to take college courses. It helped me prepare myself for the type of work that college professors require,” recounted Elks. Already accepted at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, he plans to pursue a pre-med major, eyeing either a nursing or physician’s assistant career.

“You have more mature people around you,” said Elks. “It’s less stressful than you would expect.” He is currently taking a public speaking class, one that he approached with apprehension, but admitted was easier in a smaller class at BCCC.

He spends his mornings at the college and his afternoons at the high school. Some of his classes are online, while some of them are “seated” or in-person. For athletes like Elks, who is a wide receiver for the Pam Pack varsity football team, this is an ideal solution. With CCP, they can play high school sports and take college classes. Elks is also part of the Student Government Association at Washington High School and on the varsity track team.

During football season, Elks would have online assignments due at midnight on Friday nights— the same night he would have a game.

“It helps you stay on top of your assignments, so you can’t procrastinate too much.”

This spring, Elks will graduate WHS with 30 college credit hours, a whole year of credit. CCP students start a college transcript, taking their credits and their grades with them to any North Carolina public university. While some students may try to finish college in under four years, Elks plans to take lighter class loads to help him perform better in his classes.

He sees the growing popularity of the program, as many of his friends are in CCP, as well. “The top five students in my class are all CCP,” he stated, running through the list.

High school counselors and BCCC liaisons guide students through eligibility requirements and administer a placement test to demonstrate college readiness. These liaisons will be on hand during the informational session to help answer individual questions after a presentation about the advantages and requirements of the program. Spanish interpretation will be available. Parents will have a chance to hear from students who have participated in the program.