Homeschooler Finds Way to Career and College Promise at WPCC

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Madelyn WelchMadelyn Welch, a homeschooled 11th grade student, was looking for new ways to challenge herself personally and academically.  She and her mother began researching local opportunities to become more involved in an educational setting that felt open and welcoming.  They were both surprised to learn that, through the Career & College Promise program, Madelyn could enroll in college classes on the campus of Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) for just the cost of books and fees.

Career & College Promise (CCP) is North Carolina’s dual enrollment program for high school students, which allows them to take tuition-waived college classes while still in high school.  Locally, CCP is offered through a collaboration between Burke County Public Schools and WPCC that permits eligible high school students the opportunity to take tuition-waived college classes offered on WPCC’s campus or in some cases, at one of the local Burke County high schools.

It is possible for CCP students to graduate from high school with as many as 35 credit hours that will transfer to a four-year university.  Or, for those students looking to begin a career after high school graduation, CCP students can graduate with an associate degree, diploma or certificate from WPCC that will serve as a workforce credential.  While all CCP students pay fees and books associated with enrollment at WPCC, the value of the tuition waived can potentially save BCPS families thousands of dollars in college tuition.

Having attended public school prior to being homeschooled in the sixth grade, Madelyn has known both the group structure of public school and the self-paced environment of being home schooled.  Regardless of the educational environment, she aimed for the best within herself and sought out external challenges.  While she was delighted by WPCC’s campus feel, she had to make a mental adjustment when she first came onto campus.

“When you’re mom is the instructor, you know she’s always ready to do the best for you no matter what,” she explained.  “I initially wondered about how any instructor could compare to that and about how personal the experience would actually be.”

Madelyn quickly realized that she could count on a similar one-on-one relationship with both her instructors and with student services staff.

“I’ve found that all the instructors want me to succeed,” she said.  “You never feel different than the other kids and my instructors never acts irritated if I have to stay after class for further explanation.”

Madelyn was also pleased to see how much passion her instructors have for their subject matter.

“It’s kind of a shock to find an instructor who loves what they are doing.  It affects the way you learn,” she said.  “They don’t want you to take classes and just skim through.  They emphasize the importance of preparing us for the future.”

Welch also appreciates the accountability of having a set schedule with set due dates.  She also worked the college’s admissions counselor to ensure her class load was realistic.

Madelyn’s first semester at WPCC was during the Fall semester in 2015 and she made it a goal to succeed.  She did just that by making the Dean’s List.

“I really pushed myself,” she said.  “People may think that homeschooling isn’t hard, but I showed that I could still keep up with the other students.”

After completing associate degree in science through the CCP pathway, Madelyn plans to eventually transfer to a four year university to study either computers or communication.

“This program allows you to have so many opportunities that you wouldn’t normally get,” she said while encouraging other high school students and their parents to consider CCP.  “You need to take advantage of this opportunity at its fullest.”

WPCC offers high school students a clear path to success in college or in a career through the Career & College Promise program. Any eligible high school junior or senior has an opportunity to take tuition-waived courses at WPCC while being dually enrolled in his/her high school. To learn more about the CCP program, contact Jennifer Propst, WPCC Enrollment Management Director, at (828) 448-6051 or visit WPCC’s CCP web page.