Rutgers-Newark offers dual enrollment for high school students

<p>Ian Watson, director of the Theatre Program and the Urban Civic Initiative at Rutgers—Newark, said the dual enrollment program builds community.</p>

Ian Watson, director of the Theatre Program and the Urban Civic Initiative at Rutgers—Newark, said the dual enrollment program builds community.

Rutgers University—Newark is expanding its Spring 2020 semester courses to include approximately 90 seats for Newark high school students interested in dual enrollment, according to a press release. The program was organized by the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC).

“Dual enrollment at Rutgers University—Newark complements NCLC’s objectives in achieving citywide impact by creating viable college pathways and supporting the development of a consistent college-going culture across all high schools,” said NCLC Executive Director Reginald Lewis.

Newark Public Schools Superintendent Roger León said that dual enrollment courses, which allow juniors and seniors to earn college credits while still in high school, could increase the likelihood of students finishing high school, attending college and earning a degree. 

"The credits earned during this experience will give our students a leg up on their peers once they actually attend college. I could not be more proud of our partnership with NCLC and Rutgers University—Newark as it continues to bear fruit for our students, our city and beyond,” León said according to the release. 

The NCLC first organized the district-wide dual enrollment program in spring 2019. This semester, more than half of the students enrolled in the dual enrollment program come from Newark’s 14 public high schools, according to the release. 

The remainder of the students attend local charter schools, including the People’s Preparatory Charter School, which is a new addition to the dual enrollment program. 

Another significant aspect of the program is the opportunity for high school students to take classes alongside undergraduate students rather than simply take online courses, according to the release. Officials at Rutgers University—Newark hope that this will encourage high school students to apply for college in the future. 

The students in the program are taking classes in the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) and the School of Arts and Sciences in Newark (SASN), according to the release. Dual enrollment students have the opportunity to learn about leadership, literature, data, psychology, history and the arts through the courses offered. 

Both SPAA and SASN ensure the dual enrollment students are set up for success by providing them with an orientation and any advising they may need throughout the semester, according to the release. They also take feedback at the end of the program to improve it for the next group of students. 

Ian Watson, director of the Theatre Program and the Urban Civic Initiative at Rutgers University—Newark who teaches dual enrollment classes, said the program has helped both the high school students as well as the undergraduates. 

“Within the first two to three classes the distinctions between undergraduates and high schoolers has vanished … high school students realize a college career is a genuine possibility for them. The Rutgers students walk away with a better understanding of the community around them and how much they have in common with their fellow citizens who have not had the same opportunities they have had,” Watson said. 

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