What is it like to attend college as a 16 year old? According to Olivia ‘Liv’ Miller, “It’s daunting but it teaches me how to make good use of my time and gives me a head start on the college process.” Liv is a Baker Early College student, who has been in the program for only one term. She is currently taking Psychology 201, the History of Physical Education, and College Success at Central Oregon Community College all of which are online.
College can be a challenge for everyone. Making new connections, attempting effective time management and learning virtually are just a few struggles that college students face. Facing these head on is necessary for growth, but can be nerve wracking as a young teenager, especially one who has never been to public school, such as Elise Rice. However, Rice says that college has helped “free up her schedule” and how she has learned many things from being in the classroom.
Many students are attending COCC through an early college program. The most prominent program in Bend is Baker Early College, which 92.3% out of 13 individuals say they are enrolled in. Baker is a charter school that partners with 14 different colleges around the Pacific Northwest, and is ranked the number one Charter High School in Oregon by Niche. Most students enrolled are able to graduate highschool with their associates degree, with credits counting dually toward college and highschool.
Early college students were asked a few questions about their experience with COCC and how they handled the differences between themselves and other students.
Q: What is something you have enjoyed from your classes?
“I enjoy the flexibility. I like being able to work on assignments on my own time,” says Megan Lathrop, who began college at the age of 15 through Baker. Mason Calhoun agrees on the flexibility but also says that he enjoys “the intensity and importance of independence in school work.”
Q: What is something that has been challenging in your classes?
Both Liv Miller and Eddie Freauff agreed that time management is something they find challenging. Other hardships these young students found themselves running into were the amount of assignments, remote and online learning and deadlines.
Q: Has the age gap between you and many other college attending students felt noticeable?
Multiple students agreed that online the age gap didn’t feel noticeable, but Miller said she worried about in person classes because she knew the age gap would feel more present there. Lathrop noted that the age gap was more apparent in remote classes than online classes, but it didn’t affect her much.
Having a supportive social system is vital for surviving college, and early college students are well connected and lean on each other for support. Multiple students take classes with other friends in the same program as they are, and some even study together as often as once a week. These students are utilizing their available resources, and truly accept the challenges thrown at them while being kids in college.