STA Expands Dual Enrollment Collaboration
Posted on 09/23/2022
When members of the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Class of 2026 graduate next June, many will walk out of commencement not only with a diploma in hand but with college credits as well. These students are making the most of the recently expanded dual enrollment program, which offers college credits to students for their coursework at STA. The program, which has existed at STA for many years, was expanded in 2018 with the addition of several Seton Hall University courses and was further grown in the summer of 2022 to include numerous Middlesex College courses. From Italian to AP® Computer Science, students can earn college credits that will transfer to hundreds of other universities.

“The benefits of the program are obvious,” noted long-time dual enrollment teacher Dr. Wojchiech Mrozek. “Students are exposed to more demanding course content and at the same time are able to earn college credits while still being in high school.”

What sets STA’s dual enrollment program apart from some other high schools is that there is no barrier to entry, such as minimum GPA or SAT score, for students who want to earn college credits. Any student who signs up for an approved dual enrollment course can earn college credits, so long as he or she meets the end-of-course requirements. This provides a remarkable academic opportunity for students ranging from freshmen to seniors, Journey to Success to Honors Program, athletes to musicians.
“I am thrilled to be a part of STA's dual enrollment program,” remarked Computer Science teacher Grace Alexander. “I think this is a great opportunity for our students to get college credit while in a high school environment.”

Dual enrollment benefits all students, even those who are still undecided about which college to attend or what to study. A 2016 report by the College Affordability Study Commission found that students who take dual-enrollment classes are more likely to go to college, be prepared to do college-level work, and earn a college degree. In some cases, students earn enough credits while in high school to reduce the amount of time, and money, they need to spend in college. Or, having to take fewer courses allows students to pursue a second major, a minor, or to study abroad without necessitating summer courses.

“STA’s collaboration with these prominent universities reflects our ongoing efforts to enhance academic offerings and provide students of all interests and abilities the opportunity to excel,” commented Principal Harry Ziegler.
Earning college credits before graduating from high school is just part of the investment that parents make in their children’s futures when sending them to St. Thomas Aquinas High School. STA’s academic offerings are inspired by its patron saint’s tireless search for the ways in which faith and reason are revealed in human knowledge. Through interactive, interdisciplinary, project-based, and technology-infused courses, STA seeks to form well-rounded students who are exceptionally prepared for the rigors of top colleges and challenging professions. As a result, every year 100% of its seniors are accepted into multiple universities and 98% choose to proceed directly to college.

Most importantly, STA’s educators seek to reach students where they are. For example, students who need extra support as they transition from grammar school to high school are welcomed into the Journey to Success Program, which offers greater differentiation of instruction, additional individualized attention, and mentoring by teachers and upperclassmen. For other students, the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program is a four-year academic track based on a challenging, interdisciplinary, Honors and AP® curriculum that prepares students for college and beyond. No matter what program or track students decide upon, all benefit equally from the many ways that STA’s academics are enhanced, including the no-cost 1:1 Chromebook program, the latest software and hardware throughout the building, a state-of-the art Makerspace, and newly renovated science labs.

Students and teachers who participate in the dual enrollment program will be available to talk more about the program and answer your questions at St. Thomas Aquinas’s fall open house on Sunday, October 16 from 1 to 4.