Since 2015, many Detroit Cristo Rey seniors spend their last semester at the school boarding a bus each afternoon and travelling to a college or university to attend dual enrollment.
This year’s seniors have the opportunity to study at the University of Detroit Mercy, which arranges specific classes for Cristo Rey students only. This year, 50 seniors are taking dual enrollment class. Each student has two college classes they attend after they take their other five required classes at Cristo Rey in the morning.
While the students have only been attending dual enrollment for a few weeks, they are already becoming more comfortable with the college setting.
“One of the biggest pros about dual enrollment is that you get to have insight of what college will be like, as in the work and projects that you will most likely get when you start your freshman year,” said Guadalupe Irineo, a senior currently taking a political science class. “It helps you build up different characteristics that you probably didn’t have in high school, like perseverance, time management, patience, etc. ...”
Marco Marquez, a senior who is taking a CAD class added: “I gain an understanding on what it means to be an adult within the workforce. For example, If I’m having problems on a specific assignment then I need to figure out how to fix it.”
Seniors have noticed, however, that there are stressors that come with dual enrollment.
Irineo said, “A con can be having to balance both high school work and the college work given at dual enrollment, having to take out some activities from our daily lives to be able to complete the responsibility we have as a high school student but also as a college students.”
While the additional responsibilities can be intense, Cristo Rey staff and administration want to help and guide seniors into a college mindset and believe dual enrollment is a part of this.
“Classes taken in dual enrollment could lead students to a career goal,” said principal Kevin Cumming. “Many students participate in the program to feel comfortable about future decisions made in college.”
Faculty from University of Detroit Mercy also believe in the benefits of dual enrollment.
“Students get away from high school and into a different environment.” said Robert Berg, political science professor at Detroit Mercy. “You get a college experience before enrolled, receiving credits allowing, flexibility in electives.”
Despite the additional stress, students also see the benefits.
“I feel that dual enrollment will help prepare me for college because it’s basically a little insight on how a college class will be like,” Irineo said. “The professor will treat you as a college student, not as a high school student. Getting work handed to me in dual enrollment and having deadlines is going to help my mindset change from a highschool one to a college one.”