Is Kent State’s Senior to Sophomore Program a Good Idea?

Is Kent State's Senior to Sophomore Program a Good Idea?

As classes resume here at DAHS, many juniors and seniors are thinking about their future. With so many options, from the Career Center, CBI Program, and Kent State Salem’s Senior to Sophomore Program, DAHS provides many outside opportunities to reach your goals. But choosing any of these routes is a big decision to make, and you should not choose one without first weighing your options.

The Senior to Sophomore (S2S) Program is an opportunity for high school seniors to take college level classes for free during their school day. Students are permitted to leave for part of their day to attend classes at Kent State’s Salem Campus, and then return to school for their high school classes. This option sounds too good to be true, but it does not come without downsides. 

For one, seniors that choose this option have to give up part of their day at school to attend the classes in Salem, meaning that they have fewer classes they can take from their high school. And that is not all they are giving up; while the college classes do count toward your GPA, they are not weighted like an advanced or college prep class here. This means that many seniors that attend Kent Salem do not graduate with honors or in the top ten. This is where you have to make a decision; are the advanced, college-level classes that Kent Salem offers more beneficial to you than graduating at the top of your class?

This raises another question, is our system of grading unfair or outdated? When you look at the level of difficulty of a college class, surely it is more difficult than the college prep classes here, so why are these classes not being counted as such? If they were, students at the top of their class are more likely to take part in this program.

We all know that college is expensive, but one advantage of the S2S Program is the money you will save. DAHS seniors get their tuition and books paid for by the school, saving you money on taking the classes later on at the college or university of your choice. By definition, the Seniors to Sophomores Program is meant to provide high school seniors with enough college credits to count for their freshman year, enabling them to start college as a sophomore and hopefully graduate in less time. These credits are transferrable to any public school in the state of Ohio. This may turn off students who plan on attending private or out-of-state schools, but when you factor in the experience of taking college classes (for free!) it just might be worth it. Sure, your credits might not transfer and you may not graduate in less time, but you will be one step ahead of most freshmen when you enter class in the fall because you know what a college class is like and what professors expect.

If you talk to a senior who is part of the S2S program, they will probably tell you that it is a bit stressful trying to schedule their classes here and at Kent Salem. Typically, however, things get sorted out enough for students to make it work, but it usually leaves them with too many study halls, or not enough. When you have to fit in Calculus and Physics classes, plus Spanish 4 and any electives you may want, sometimes it just is not possible. With all the college-level classes at Kent Salem and the advanced math and science classes here, some S2S seniors may become overwhelmed with the class load or wear themselves too thin.

It all comes down to your priorities; The Seniors to Sophomores Program is a great opportunity that will provide you with an unparalleled experience to prepare you for college. However, this may come with some compromises on your part – like class rank, GPA, and the added stress of college classes. Maybe in the future S2S students will be rewarded for their extra effort with a weighted GPA, but that can only come with restructuring our school’s grading system. In my opinion, a reformation is what we need to accommodate S2S students. These seniors are willing to put in the extra effort to attend college classes, and they should be rewarded for that with weighted GPA, at least as much as any advanced class here at DAHS. If we promote the S2S program to seniors while providing them a way to maintain their class rank, DAHS graduates could enter college more equipped than other college freshmen, which would ultimately give the glory back to our Alma Mater.