One of the local universities offers a program where students can take concurrent enrollment classes that count towards both high school and general ed college credits. This is a great way to graduate high school with a transferable associate’s degree in tow.

I had a student ask me what I thought of the program. He is about to register for 10th grade and is considering applying to it.

No way

UCAS is a great program. Very successful students go through the program and exit high school two years ahead of their college-bound peers. It has a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. All of which I strongly encourage students to take. So why wouldn’t I recommend it?

It’s simple. This kid is social, outgoing, and would miss some of the amazing opportunities high school offers. He would miss out on clubs, sporting events, dances, student government, and more.

High school isn’t for everyone. In fact, some very successful people skip right over it. But there are other ways to get ahead in schooling if that is the goal.

I graduated from my high school with nearly 45 credits under my belt. We had CP classes, similar to classes that offer AP credit, but without the required test. I also took half-days during my senior year to go down to the local universities and take classes. I didn’t have to go to a separate building two cities away from all of my friends and extra-curricular activities. And even though the first two years of high school were hard, my junior and senior years were some of the most fun of my life.

Rushing through college is a sucker’s game if you don’t know what you want to get out of it. I rushed to finish my degree. I had no clue what I wanted to do, I only knew that I wanted to graduate ASAP.

While I love my career choice, I fell into it rather than discovered it as a perfect fit for me. I didn’t take my time to find out what I wanted to do. I followed a trail set by a family of educators. Heck. I almost changed my major to accounting one semester before graduating in Business Education. (Happy to say I dodged a major bullet there.)

UCAS and other programs that help you get ahead are great if you know what you want to do with that degree. It’s a great way to save money on college tuition, and it can be a great fit if the typical high school scene just isn’t for you. To those students, I heartily endorse UCAS and similar programs.

But if you are the type of person who will get involved in clubs, dance, drama, student government; or if you enjoy getting to know new people, dating, dances, care-free drives with your friends; or if you just need a little more time to figure out who you are and what you want to become; find other ways to get ahead that allow you to still be a part of your high school. It just may be some of the best years of your life.