It’s not out of the ordinary to see high school students walking around campus.
Most are prospective students getting a peak at what the university has to offer. What you might not realize is that the person sitting next to you in class might also still be in high school and taking classes at Miami University as part of the post secondary program.
Many students at Miami come as a first-year with some kind of college credit already under their belt, be it from AP classes or their own post secondary work. All three of Miami’s campuses provide this opportunity to students who attend local high schools.
Oxford has about 36 post secondary students currently taking classes, mostly from Talawanda High School (THS). Middletown and Hamilton each have a much higher number of students, said Cheryl Young, director of lifelong learning, because of Hamilton’s heavy recruiting for the program and Middletown’s close proximity to Middletown High School.
According to Young, post secondary students tend to take one college level class in addition to their high school classes. The classes they typically take are what are most commonly referred to as Miami Plan classes, which tend to be first- and second-year courses. Young said many students complete their language requirements this way.
“A lot of high schools with budget cuts don’t have Latin or Chinese,” Young said.
Young also said Calculus and English 111 and 112 are also heavily enrolled.
Students who are eligible for this program must go through the same admission standards as first-year students, Young said.
“We don’t want to set the student up for failure,” Young said. “We set up criteria to make sure they will succeed in their college course.”
While students get a taste of the college experience, they don’t get a taste of the cost. According to Young, the program is funded by the state, which even covers their textbooks. However, they are required to return their books at the end of term.
Ben Rupel, a senior at THS who has been participating in this program for two years, is currently taking Chinese and can see a distinct difference between high school and college classes.
“The classes at Miami are much more focused,” Rupel said. “You go in, the teacher just starts teaching. People aren’t messing around.”
Another advantage for Rupel is the variety of classes offered at the college level.
“I have definitely liked the option of having so many classes that you can take,” Rupel said.
So far he has taken psychology, microbiology, linear algebra and calculus. This is not an unusual schedule for a college freshman.
Because of his opportunity to take classes at Miami, Rupel will already be a step ahead when he attends Georgia Tech in the fall.
Post secondary opportunities are especially beneficial for students at THS because they do not have the option of taking as many AP classes as students at other schools might.
“A lot of schools have a lot more (AP classes) than us, so the having the opportunity to take Miami classes makes up for it,” Rupel said.
Miami junior Josh Wagenknecht is glad he had the opportunity to take a post secondary class when he was in high school because it helped him figure out what he wanted to study.
“Actually seeing what you’re doing with what you’re studying is really valuable knowledge to know if it’s right for you,” Wagenknecht said.