PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



From 10th Grade Straight to College?

Pennsylvania is one of eight states that is considering participating in a program that, beginning in 2011, will allow high school students to enroll directly in community college if they pass a series of exams at the end of their sophomore year.

It’s intended to address a number of issues. For one, the high dropout rate among college freshmen. For another, the fact that many high school classes (like APs) are supposed to be college-level anyway. And another, since this plan was proposed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, is so that people can enter the workforce earlier.

Students who pass these exams can only enroll in community college, so not Penn State, for example, but conceivably they could transfer after a year. However, the program’s proponents say that those who are aiming for colleges above the community level would remain in high school but would take college preparatory courses. Those who fail could retake the exams at the end of junior and/or senior year. According to Michael Race of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the program is not fully developed, and individual high schools would be able to elect to participate or not, but specific schools would not be singled out to be drafted into the program or denied participation.

I can see a couple problems with this program. Number one, and perhaps the most obvious, is the possible social implications. Community college is still college, and I can’t imagine at all a 16-year-old college freshman on the same campus as a 22-year-old senior. And if they transfer, we could potentially have 16- or 17-year-old college sophomores at Penn State, which I just can’t see working out smoothly.

Also, if we allow proficient students to skip their last two years of high school, aren’t we abandoning faith in our high schools to adequately educate? This program might end up being divisive, with the community colleges becoming the springboard to college for the students above a certain exam grade, and the high schools taking on a more remedial character. I think we have to stand behind the public education system, and, if possible, fix the high schools if that’s what needs to be done, rather than totally giving up on them and giving the job to someone else.

About the Author

Dan McCool

Dan is a senior and has been writing for Onward State since January 2010. Did you miss him? Nah, neither did we. He's returning after a semester abroad in England and will be serving as Arts Editor. Favorite things in life include references to The Big Lebowski.


More by Dan

Erase Your Expectations: Dan McCool’s Senior Column

Don’t worry about what you should be doing, or how what you’re doing is going to fit into the cadre of college—or Penn State, for that matter—predetermined by our culture. Go make your own Penn State, without any expectations; you’ll be much happier.

After Condom Spat, UPUA Approves Funding for Sexual Violence Prevention & Awareness Month

UPUA Is Walking to Harrisburg, Not Much Else


Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Sophomore midfielder Shea Moyer scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute of a rainy season opener at Jeffrey Field.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend