Knox College opened its doors to high school seniors this year with the debut of an early college program. The program allows high school seniors to take one course at Knox each term alongside their high school classes.
Nora Leahy, Ada Mehl and Taryn Hall, seniors at Galesburg High School, are three of the students in the program. They said Knox brought flyers to the high school and their counselor passed the flyers on to them. Leahy and Mehl knew they wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, but Hall was unsure until she realized all her friends were joining.
High school students who join the early college program get to take classes for free. Students only have to pay for their own textbooks.
Leahy, Mehl and Hall applied to be in the program. Leahy said the requirements to be able to take classes at Knox are to be in the top 10 percent of their high school class or have a GPA of 3.8 or higher.
If students meet these requirements, they can apply to be in the early college program. Leahy, Mehl and Hall said the application process was easy. They answered two essay questions about their interests and why they wanted to be part of the early college program.
Leahy is taking the course Art History II, and Mehl and Hall are taking Psychology 100 this term. All three have enjoyed their classes. They feel accepted by their classmates.
“We’re students. We participate the same and the teacher expects the same out of us,” Leahy said.
The early college program gives all the students a chance to see what college life is like. Mehl was especially happy with her class. She thinks she wants to become a school psychologist, so her psychology course serves as a glimpse into her future.
Mehl and Hall were surprised with how laid back their psychology professor has been. High school teachers left them with the impression that college professors are more strict than any high school teacher ever has been.
Hall said she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of diversity that she comes across at Knox.
“I’ve never seen so many diverse cultures in one setting,” Hall said. “It’s really neat!”
Leahy said her participation in the early college program helped her see Knox in a different light.
“Before this, I kind of had a low view of Knox,” Leahy said.
Leahy said she had never considered Knox in her college search. Now, Leahy considers Knox her safety school. She enjoys her class and likes her classmates.
Leahy, Mehl and Hall hope to see the program grow in coming years and look forward to taking more classes at Knox.