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College UnMazed: Acceleration Credits. Types of Acceleration Why Accelerate Affects on College Admissions Where to Begin Resources

-April 2018-

College UnMazed April 2018

Letter to College UnMazed Families Welcome to the first monthly publication of College UnMazed. I have been so fortunate to have a platform to provide parents and students quality information on the high school to college process in my blog, College UnMazed. I have also been able to take my own college counseling program, that netted my students over $10 million in annual scholarships, into a step-by-step guidebook called College UnMazed: Your Guide Through the Florida College & University System. Through my continual discussions with families throughout the state it was found that a regular monthly publication, focused on a theme, would be the most beneficial in keeping students on track through their academic pathways. In thinking about the first publication, I choose to do one of the topics I am most passionate about: Acceleration! While the Florida college system can seem confusing, the opportunities that are provided for our students free of cost is outstanding. Today there are multiple pathways for student success that transfers to college credits or career certificates. Thank you for being on this journey with me, Dr. Amanda Sterk asterk@unmaze.me

Contributors I strongly believe "it takes a village." I value the hard work and knowledge of educators throughout the state. I am seeking contributing authors that would like to share their expertise with others. Have a passion for a topic? Email me at asterk@unmaze.me!



Why Acceleration p. 3

College Admissions p. 7

Types of Acceleration p. 4

Where to Begin p. 10

Benefits of Acceleration p. 6

Resources p. 12

College UnMazed April 2018

Why Acceleration? High school students have great opportunities to obtain free college credits even before graduating high school! Today, Florida provides many opportunities for students to accelerate their learning through various high school programming. Earning college credit in high school is beneficial for multiple reasons.

Cost Savings School districts often pick up the tab for tuition and books. Sometimes there are some small fees, but at a fraction of the cost what a student would pay after graduating high school, including room and board, tuition, fees, books, and other expenses.

Time Savings In Florida, it was found that less than 67 percent of Florida college students graduate in six years, according to the Florida Board of Governor’s Accountability Rate. While not widely discussed, college is taking longer to get through as students change their degrees, have trouble meeting prerequisites, or enter programs that change their requirements. Having a student be able to focus on the generalized core courses or electives to determine their major, these credits can save students a substantial amount of time and stress.

Smaller Classes The generalized core courses at most universities often are large lecture halls filled with 100300 students and taught by professor's assistance. Taking these courses in high school or on a state college's campus guarantees small numbers and more personalized attention.

Career Focus The college course work allows students to see how they might enjoy specific career fields. Advanced lab reports, research, hands-on projects, and in-depth teaching provides more opportunities for exploration into various career fields. Dual-Enrollment often offers industry certifications that can be directly employable after high school or with additional semester or two.

Rigor & Independence Acceleration courses allow students to be treated as college-students. Students learn to better navigate the academic skills, such as time management, study skills, test preparation,


and note taking, to be a more successful student. Having both rigor and independence can be highly motivating for students to excel.

College UnMazed April 2018

Types of Acceleration In Florida you will find several acceleration methods, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge AICE, and Dual Enrollment. The Florida State College System found using an acceleration method, such as Dual Enrollment, students went from a graduating in 4.6 years to 2.6 years (see chart above). This acceleration can saves families tens of thousands of dollars of tuition, room and board costs. However, many families have questions about each program and which is best for them.

Advanced Placement Advanced Placement- implemented by the College Board, are standard curriculum courses taught by high school teachers. Students are given an end-of-the-year test, that provides them a score from 1-5. Based on this score, colleges and universities determine if college


credit can be earned.. Over 2.7 million students worldwide are expected to take up to 5 million exams this year.

a. Strengths- AP is one the largest and oldest acceleration methods. It gives opportunities number of AP exams for all types of students to take singleton courses for potential college credits. College available credits are often given for certain scores, but not all universities accept AP credits. Students can take courses they are stronger in rather than a whole program. b. Weaknesses- While the student may do well in the classroom environment, some students struggle on the extensive standardized test. As well, colleges have differing scores needed to obtain college credit. For more information about AP options- visit CollegeBoard

Cambridge AICE & International Baccalaureate Cambridge AICE and International Baccalaureate- The AICE and IB programs are similar in curriculum structure with an emphasis on intellectual rigor, high academic standards, and


strong emphasis on citizenship. Students often apply in 8th grade with standardized test scores, application, and possible interview. a. Strengths- Courses taught in the high school setting, but becomes a “school-within-aschool” setting as only a select number of students may enter the program. Students may earn up to 45 credits through passage of the final, standardized test. The programs are internationally recognized. Currently students who earn the AICE or IB diploma are eligible for the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholars full-tuition scholarship. b. Weaknesses- AICE and IB are extremely rigorous, structured, writing intensive programs. Some students do not thrive academically in this type of environment, some do.


Number of IB Programs in the state of Florida www.ibo.org

College UnMazed April 2018

Dual Enrollment DE courses are college courses that can be utilized in three ways; on a high school campus with a credentialed professor, online through the college, or at the college campus. Unlike the other programs, dual enrollment students have to meet state requirements of a 3.0 unweighted grade point average and specific test scores on standardized tests like the PERT, ACT, or SAT (https://www.fsw.edu/dualenrollment). a. Strengths- Florida statute requires all credits with passing grades to transfer to a fouryear university or college. Coupled with the same course number system throughout Florida, transferability is simple. College courses are also by semester, so students can earn credits at a faster rate than other acceleration methods that are yearlong, such as AP, AICE, and IB. DE students have full access to the college’s resources, such as the library, academic resource centers, tutoring, activities, and Honor’s Program. b. Weaknesses-Students are treated as a college student and are expected to have academic independence. Student’s are creating their college official transcript.

% Of Students Who Earn College Credits by Program

91% Dual Enrollment


83% International Baccalaureate

Advanced Placement

Florida Department of Education (2008), High school students who take acceleration methods perform better in SUS than who take none. Retrieved from http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7480/urlt/0082776zoom2008-01.pdf

Top 5 Dual Enrollment Courses Taken* Composition 1 (ENC 1101) 52% College Algebra (MAC 1105) 20% American National Government (POS 2041) 14% Introduction to Psychology (PSY 2012) 14% History of the US to 1877 (AMH 2010) 14% *at Florida SouthWestern State College


College UnMazed April 2018

Career & Technical Programs Career and Technical Programs as a Career Dual Enrolled student are a great way to complete a technical program, obtain an industry credential or license, and earn college credit all while in high school. As a Career Dual Enrollment student, you often work with your local technical college and your high school to ensure both your high school graduation requirements are being met,, and you receive an industry approved, high-skill, high-wage technical program simultaneously. Often times, these programs can operate as a "school-within-a-school", meaning the student does not leave their high school campus, or off-site at a local technical school. 1. Strengths: Earn highly employable technical degrees that are directly employable for free while in high school. These career programs focus on the needs of the local community, and partner with businesses seeking to hire these students. As well, the requirements to enter these programs are lower than other acceleration methods, allowing a wider group of students to enter. Most certificates are directly employable. 2. Weaknesses: Students may not know which career path they want. Some credits may not transfer to colleges or universities

Program Requirements- Attendance, 2.0 GPA, TABE Assessment

Junior Programs 1. Plumbing 2. Medical Coder/Biller (online) 3. NET Application Development & Programming 4. Nursing Assistant– Long Term Care 5. Plumbing Technology 6. Web Application Development & Programming Welding Technology 7. Administrative Office Specialist 8. Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing 9. Automotive Service Technology Drafting Electronic Technology 10. Major Appliance & Refrigeration Repair Mechatronics Technology 11. Medical Administrative Specialist 12. And Many More!!


Senior Programs 1. Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Technology 2. Carpentry 3. Commercial Foods & Culinary Arts 4. Electricity Marine Service Technologies 5. And Many More!!

College UnMazed April 2018

Benefits of Acceleration 1. Cost Savings College tuition continues to rise every year. Over the last five years, Florida families have seen tuition increase in excess over 50% since 2006-2007 (Head,2017), with an average of annual cost of attendance for a four-year university at $22,000. One of the most affordable options continues to be the Florida State College System (FCS) that ranks nationally in the bottom 10% of net prices (Miller, 2013). Florida, fortunately, has put in state statue that supports acceleration methods for high school students. One area is that all passing grades ("C" or higher) in"postsecondary courses taken through dual enrollment will transfer to any public college or university offering that statewide course number and must be treated as though taken at the receiving institution" (FLDOE, 2016, p.9). With a statewide course number system, transferrability is simple and the cost savings can easily be seen. Currently for 2018-2019, students who complete the AICE or IB diploma, can receive the FULL Florida Academic Scholars scholarship that pays FULL tuition to any state college or university. The Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV), for Career & Technical programs, also has a valuable scholarship opportunity.

Per Credit (FCS)

Per Credit (SUS)



FSW- tuition & fees


UF- tuition & fees

Average Savings

Average Savings



Average savings based on a 2.2 year time savings at annual tuition and fees rates (see p.7). Does NOT include room and board.

College UnMazed April 2018

2. Graduate from College Faster Average years to graduate college with Acceleration versus none One area that many families are unaware about is that college is simply taking longer to complete than ever before. There are multiple reasons for increased time at college, including; 1. Pre-requisite and program changes

No Acceleration:4.7

2. Students change majors 3. Poor advising 4. School opportunities (internships & study abroad) 5. Transfer- not right choice This affects students in that most scholarship and financial opportunities are only good for 4 years, and any extra years


comes at a full price. Additionally, Florida has an "excess credit" surcharge for students going over the normal credit allotment, costing Florida families $2.35 million in additional charges (Russon,

The Florida College System (2017, January 23), Data snapshot,: Accelerating college completion


through dual enrollment, Retrieved from

Tips to Accelerate


1. Begin with academic planning. By asking what is available early on, you can be prepared for the eligibility requirements for the various programs. 2. Find what accelerated courses meet which high school and college graduation requirement. Ask what is considered "core" and what is considered "electives". Many programs offer a high number of credits, but if they are mostly college elective credits it will not help as much as you think it does.

Se F A e y ST ou E R rs e


3. Know pre-requisites courses for desired major. Do you know you want to be a doctor, engineer, teacher, etc? Find out


what the college pre-requisites are for that major and guide


your accelerated courses towards that major. For example, if


you want to be a Biology Major, you should take Intro to

Biology not Oceonography.

College UnMazed April 2018

3. Higher Academic Success in High School and College A big question for many high school students is HOW DOES ACCELERATION AFFECT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS? According to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) the top factor in college acceptance rate is grades in college prep courses- those are the DE, IB, AICE, and AP courses we have been discussing. Universities realize that not every school has the same opportunities as other schools. This is often because of size of schools, location (urban versus rural), and student demographic. Counselors will send in what is called a "College Profile" that states to college admissions what the average demographic of the students are at that school, what programs they offer, student achievement (ACT, SAT, state tests average), curriculum structure, and where students from the school normally attend post-secondary. College admissions then understands more fully what opportunities were afforded to the students and did they excel at those opportunities.


Webinar Replay: What Your Acceleration Credits Mean for College Admissions, with Jospeh Madigan, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Florida Southern College

College UnMazed April 2018

Acceleration and College Admissions Recalculated GPA Colleges throughout the county support acceleration methods because of the focus on core academic skills necessary for college success. Many colleges use this to factor in a student's "Recalculated GPA" for admissions. What many students do not know is that the GPA on your high school transcript is often not what colleges use. They recalculate a student's GPA based on their most important criteria- usually rigor (college-level and honors) and core (courses in mathematics, science, history, English, and foreign language). The University of South Florida states, "For determining admissibility to USF, we will recalculate your high school GPA based on grades earned in high school only in core academic subject areas, as well as specified AP and IB fine and performing arts courses. USF will add the quality points outlined below for approved AP, IB, AICE, Honors and Dual Enrollment courses provided you earn a "C" or better". Two student examples on page 11 and additional terminology and information click here.


Quality Point





Why recalculate? Colleges found that students who participate in an accelerated program in high school out-perform non-accelerated students in their first year of college (Smith & Holcombe, 2008). The reason is the additional focus on college-readiness skills in the core subjects.

Non Accel





Florida Department of Education (2008), High school students who take acceleration methods perform better in SUS than who take none. Retrieved from http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7480/urlt/0082776-zoom2008-01.pdf

College UnMazed April 2018

Student #1 Student Example- Advanced Placement 5



AP Eng. Lang

AP Physics Unweighted


Weight Lifting



Honors Statistics

College Credits*

This student received a B in AP English Language, a B in AP Physics, an A in Psychology, an A in Weight Lifting, an A in Pottery, and a C in Honors Statistics. She has potential to earn 6 college credits, and has been given additional college credit points on her recalculated GPA for her AP and Honors course.. However, not all courses will count , such as his electives. Her recalculated GPA is a 3.6. Potential cost savings $1,276.26 at a SUS.

Student #2 Student Example- Dual Enrollment 5



ENC 1101

MAC 1105 Unweighted

PSY 2012 Recalculated

AMH 2010

POS 2041

College Credits*

This student received a B in ENC 1101 (Composition I), a B in MAC 1105 (College Algebra), an A in PSY 2012 (Intro to Psychology), an A in AMH 2010 ( US History since 1877), and an A in POS 2041 (American National Government). He will have earned 15 college credits that will transfer to any state college or university, and has been given additional quality points on his recalculated GPA for all courses. His recalculated GPA is a 4.6. Cost savings of $3,190.65 at a SUS.


College UnMazed April 2018

Where to Begin 1. Ask Questions In our school district we have school choice, and there are multiple options of school types. There is a different school out there for everyone with many different academic and extra-curricular activities. Even in small schools with little choice, there are many things that parents are just not aware of so they don’t ask the right questions. One tip on this process: if you do have choices in your schools (which most people do, it just takes a bit of work to find out what they are), do your research and compare what opportunities are available to your student. If your student is passionate about animals, a school with a vet tech program or an FFA (Future Farmers of America) program could make a huge impact on them. If your child is dreaming of being an engineer or doctor, finding schools that can allow high levels of math and science courses to be taken is imperative for competitive college admission. As you begin to look down the high school path, begin to ask questions like:

1. What are the academic programs out there? Can they be combined; such as Advanced Placement with Dual Enrollment? 2. When can my child start these programs and what is required to get in? 3. How can I maximize in-school time and outside of school time like online, summer, and evening programs? Upcoming Live Webinar- Acceleration- Determining What is Best for your Child


College UnMazed March 2018

Grade Levels


Be sure to know grade requirement- most are 11th12th programs

Test Scores PERT















Unweighted GPA

2. Know Eligibility

3. Know the Process to Enroll




Dual Enrollment

Career Programs

College UnMazed April 2018

Resources Webinar Still have questions- click on the link to register for the Sunday, April 15th @ 3:00pm free webinar- High School Acceleration: Understanding your Student's Options Register here or at Webinar Sign-up (live & replay option)

Monthly Magazine Subscription Do you want the monthly magazine emailed right to you? Sign up @ www.unmaze.me/newsletter


Website www.unmaze.me

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F a m i l i e s w h o u s e C o l l e g e UnMazed

At www.unmaze.me there are over 100+ articles, webinars, and videos for Florida high school students that corresponds to the step-by-step guidebook, College UnMazed: Your Guide Through the Florida College & University System

Up co mi

August- College Admissions Made Easy



p ic

July- Mastering the College Process

T o

June- Summer Solutions for Teens


May- All Things Testing (State & College)

College UnMazed April 2018


After moving to Florida and trying to navigate through the Florida college and university system as a professional, I understood the frustration and stress that many families feel trying to do the same. Wanting to help as many families as possible, I started the UnMaze.Me website and blog and created College UnMazed Guidebook to minimize the time

Found at Barnes & Noble, Amazon & UnMaze.me This guidebook is a parent and student's one-stop-shop for the spent on the college process while maximizing the results!

entire high school to college process speciďŹ cally for Florida students. This interactive guidebook provides the foundation for student success while in high school and beyond.

Great Links & Additional Articles Advanced Placement Test Options- AP Student Florida Department of Education- Dual Enrollment FAQ International Baccalaureate- IBO.org Cambridge AICE- Cambridgeinternational.org University of Florida- Awarding of Incoming Credits- UF Florida Department of Education- Data & Reports On Acceleration College UnMazed- High School Terminology Explained


Counselors 14


Counselors connect to the resources created by counselors for counselors.

Click on the FutureMakers logo for some great local and state resources


State Colleges

Career & Technical

Cambridge AICE


Cost Savings


Dual Enrollment

International Baccalaureate

State Universities

Advanced Placement

Profile for UnMazed

UnMazed Magazine: Acceleration (April 2018)  

UnMazed Magazine is a parent and student guide through the high school to college process. Written by educational leaders and innovators, Co...

UnMazed Magazine: Acceleration (April 2018)  

UnMazed Magazine is a parent and student guide through the high school to college process. Written by educational leaders and innovators, Co...