DOING THE DOUBLE - High School and College at the Same Time | Teen Ink

DOING THE DOUBLE - High School and College at the Same Time

February 11, 2010
By AshlieH BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
AshlieH BRONZE, Mesa, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Four years of high school, another four to six years of college, plus five to twenty plus years of paying off college loans was a bleak future when I was a high school freshman until my Principal told me about Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning’s (Sequoia) Dual College Credit Program which changed my future.

I am a sophomore at Sequoia Star Academy/ Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning and also a freshman at Rio Salado College. Yes I am attending High School and College at the same time, thanks to Choice Arizona Distance Learning’s (Sequoia) Dual College Credit Program that enables high school students to earn college credit and even an associate’s degree before high school graduation. The program also pays 100% for college fees and material as long the student maintains a “C” average. For my parents, the Dual College Credit program is a life saver.

The DCC program also allows students to explore possible interests, making a job choice in the future even easier. Sequoia Choice started the Dual College Credit program in 2004, over 200 students have earned college credit and even associates degrees before high school graduation.

What makes Sequoia Choice Dual College Credit program so inviting is its flexibility. Students can take classes online, on campus or a little of both. For example, even though I attend high school and college at the same time, I don't have to travel to each campus because I take all my classes online. I started the program when I was 14 and have already earned six college credits that also apply to my high school credits- two for the time of one. The following are some of my fellow classmate’s experiences.

Jack is a junior at Sequoia who takes all of his classes at the Mesa Community College (MCC). The freedom to choose when, where, and how he attends was a big plus for Jack because he is also the second source of income for his family.

“My life is so busy and it's hard to come to school everyday. The Dual College Credit program lets me create my own college and high school classes’ schedule, which enables me to keep my job,” Jack went on to say, “I love how much my mom appreciates it when I can help her out and how my high school is paying for my college.”

Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning has a location on the Sequoia Star Academy campus located in Mesa, Arizona. Sequoia Star is a K-12 performing arts school with over 60% of the student body either in or pursuing acting, music, or modeling careers. For my classmates like, Erika Taylor and Ashley Watson the ability to do school anytime opens a lot of career doors.

Ashley is a junior at Sequoia Star, a freshman at Rio Salado College and a professional singer/songwriter in the music industry.

“When I was called out for an audition and got the show, I was worried there wouldn't be enough time to keep up. But since the Dual College Credit program is flexible, I could leave campus early when I needed to. I've been planning to graduate early with an academic diploma and all my college prerequisites done and I've been able to make it happen.”

Like Ashley, Erika is a junior at Sequoia Star and a freshman at Rio Salado College. She is also a working model, actress, and singer who frequently travel to Los Angels for projects that can keep her on the road for months at a time. Erika also has dyslexia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder but that doesn't stop her. Erika thought that getting into the Dual College Credit program would be difficult.
“I have an Individual Education Plan, or IEP, and I didn't think I could pass the college placement tests, but I did. The Rio Salado staff was extremely helpful; they offered me a private room to take my tests in and a reader to read the questions to me. So far, I’ve earned six college credits.”

Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning was one of the first online K-12 charter schools in Arizona with locations in Mesa, Phoenix, Peoria, Queen Creek, Maricopa, Showlow and Mayer. To learn more about their innovative programs visit or call (480) 461-3200. To learn more about Sequoia Star Academy’s K-12 performing art programs visit at or call (480)-834-7400


The author's comments:
The Dual College Credit Program is a great way to get ahead and I wanted other Arizona high school students to know they can attend college for free before high school graduation.

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This article has 3 comments.

on Jun. 17 2013 at 12:17 am
This is well known that cash can make people free. But what to do when someone doesn't have cash? The one way is to receive the credit loans or collateral loan.

on Feb. 23 2010 at 10:44 am
LittleBritt PLATINUM, Washington, New Jersey
24 articles 15 photos 23 comments
definitely appreciate that, we are offered half day senior year to start taking college classes ... but we have to pay.

on Feb. 22 2010 at 10:12 am
ReflectionsofYou GOLD, Mason, Tennessee
10 articles 0 photos 107 comments
You're really lucky. It cost money to earn college credit here.....