High School Students Attend Classes at MCLA


Through the College's dual enrollment program, more than 110 high school students have enrolled in MCLA courses ranging from robotics and calculus to macroeconomics and anthropology. In this program, high school juniors and seniors from Berkshire County may take an introductory college course at no cost, allowing them to strengthen their college applications while earning free credits.

Jordan Pagan '09 of North Adams, MA, says the two classes she took at MCLA while still a senior at nearby Drury High School helped her to get a jump start on her college career. With the credits she earned, she was a sophomore by her second semester in college.

"I took 'Studio Oil Painting' which I loved because I really learned a lot about the basic techniques of how to paint, such as the method of grisaille. Professor (Greg) Scheckler is really knowledgeable and talented, and I couldn't have taken the class from anyone better," says Pagan, who recently earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management.  "To fill a general education requirement, I also took anthropology, which was extremely interesting."

When Katy Carrigan (pictured right) graduates from Drury High School this spring, she already will have completed a college calculus course. She says she enjoyed the faster pace of learning that she found on campus.

 "Instead of spreading out calculus over a year in high school, I was able to finish it in one semester at MCLA. My professor was great!" she says.

This fall, Carrigan will attend Williams College to study pre-med and sociology. Her MCLA experience, she says, helped prepare her for what's ahead.

"I thought the whole experience was great and would recommend it to my younger classmates. It was a great way to get an introduction to the academic life of college. I learned that in college you have to be much more self-disciplined and your professor will not be like any of your high school teachers," Carrigan says.

According to Kate Heekin, admission counselor and coordinator of the dual enrollment program, many students take classes at MCLA because it looks great on their high school transcripts.

"The fact that they can do that for free is amazing," Heekin says. "These days, getting into college is super competitive, so if you can have a college course on your transcript, I say go for it."

New this semester is a physics course in robotics that 14 McCann Technical High School students are taking.

"Normally with dual enrollment we let a few high school students take a class with MCLA students," Heekin explains. "With this class, we made it just for McCann students. They come to campus once a week and take this robotics class. This is really great for McCann. It is a technical high school, but that doesn't mean these students aren't college-bound, so to get them on a college campus so they can earn college credits is a big deal for them."

Already, students are calling about enrolling in summer courses, Heekin says. Funding to cover the cost of books is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact her at 413-662-5585.