Hi moms! How are you doing today? Are you back to school already? We, in California, are fully back to school now. I feel like this summer just started. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I hope things are going well for you as you get adjusted to the new routine.
I love when parents come to me for educational coaching. The other day I had a consult with a parent who wanted to know if what the school was telling her to do with her son was the right thing to do. He was at a special STEM school for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and took a very advanced math class in 8th and didn’t do very well. The school was saying he should probably go to summer school and redo the class before he got to high school. But after getting to the bottom of everything with her, that was not the best option for her son. He did not need to be wasting his summer in an online virtual summer school math class where he had to meet in-person with his teacher once a week, which was going to be kind of far for the mom to have to drive him. And after 30 minutes with me, she realized that his grade did not matter. It wasn’t going to transfer to the high school and once she understood that the career that he was choosing when he was done with high school didn’t need a bunch of advanced math classes, he got his summer back and mom was a lot more clear on how she wanted his path to go and a lot less worried about him and his schooling.
Another question I get a lot is, “How do I get my high school student some college credits?” Some moms see that the AP classes are not serving their student’s much at all and adding a whole lot of stress and extra workload onto them. And some moms want to know if their average-grades student could even get a few college credits, or if that just isn’t something that is possible for them.
I was getting this question so often that I decided to create my Work Smarter Program which is a course where I walk you through step-by-step the best way to get your high school student college credits, even a whole semester or two or four of college, before they graduate high school without having to change schools or add hours to their day.
A lot of what I teach is not what the high schools tell you is available. (You’ve probably heard me talk a little bit about this in episodes 18 and 19.) The high schools stick to their program that they’ve developed, or even some have partnered with certain colleges, to do things only a certain way because they are an institution that pushes their agenda and that’s fine; it makes sense. But their way isn’t necessarily in the best interest of our students. There are better, much more effective, and dare I say even easier ways to get college credits than what they are doing.
I wanted to get the word out about this to everyone. In this program I arm you parents with the whole process, all the ins and outs of how to help your child enroll in college, what classes to take that will directly transfer to the university that they want to go to later on, and which college classes can also fulfill high school requirements at the same time. And also, and this is so important, I teach you how to be super knowledgeable so that you can go talk to your child’s high school counselor about this way your child is going to do this credits in high school thing. And when you come to them with this much knowledge, they will listen.
So today is an interview day. I have a very special guest: my very own daughter Laney. She’s here to talk about how taking college classes in high school has helped her with her confidence, giving her a huge head start on college, and also it helped boost her GPA. So she’s just going to share a little of her experience with that. I wanted to catch her before she goes off to college in just a few weeks, which I can’t even hardly think about without tearing up, but I am so so excited for her. It’s just hard to watch these kids that I love with my whole heart leave my safe little nest. She’s grown her independent wings and is definitely ready to fly. And I am just trying to catch up.
So this is my second child, my first daughter, and I’m excited for you to hear what she has to say about this college in high school experience.
Heather: Laney, thank you for being on my podcast today. It’s so nice of you to be here with me.
Laney: I’m happy to be here.
Heather: So you know I want to talk to you a little bit about your college classes experience while you’ve been in high school. So tell us a little bit about how taking college classes in high school came about for you.
Laney: So my mom kind of had this awesome idea and she presented it to me, and at first I was like, “Oh that’s a little scary.” (And I still was scared even taking my first one), but I was like, “Yeah I’ll be your guinea pig for that.”
Heather: Yeah, you were a little nervous, you were like, “Yeah mom whatever you say I’ll just try it.” So do you remember what it felt like taking that first college class, do you remember what it was?
Laney: Yeah, I think, was it Communications?
Heather: Yeah, Communications 100.
Laney: Yes, so that one, I think I was like super stressed.
Heather: I just remember, it hung over your head, like you were nervous, even if you had an assignment due in like a week, you would think about that assignment every day. You would be like, “Mom I have an assignment due in a week, or I have a test in three days” and you were pretty stressed.
Laney: Yeah, I would like come make you help me with my class. But you can’t help me with every class I take.
Heather: That was a training ground. Like I did kind of sit in on a couple of your quizzes, just cause you had a lot of anxiety about it, but was it because it was so hard? Or you were just like, “Oh my gosh, this is a college class.”
Laney: It was because it was like a college class, I think. And I, at that point in my life, I was very not confident with school and stuff. I wouldn’t get the best grades and I wasn’t really confident with my schooling at that time of life.
Heather: Yes, the word “college class” scared you.
Heather: Okay, so that one was kind of a training ground and you did really well. I think you got an A or a B.
Laney: Yeah, I don’t think I even got a C in a class, have I?
Heather: Yeah, you’ve done really great in them. So, I did help you a little bit with that, but not a whole lot. But do you remember your second and third class, how you felt with those, was it a little bit different?
Laney: All the classes are really different, but I think those I started getting more comfortable. They just mostly started to get easier because I was like, “Oh this isn’t so scary” and I was more comfortable.
Heather: Yeah, you kind of got the hang of how to them.
Heather: I remember the second class, I think it was psychology 100, and I helped you just a little bit with that like some of your exams were timed and you were just nervous about the timing of it, so I just kind of sat there. And I really didn’t help very much because I hadn’t done the studying. But then after that you were like, “Okay, I got this Mom.” From then on, I haven’t really helped you with any classes, you just had it. I didn’t even have to check on you, I didn’t have to follow up with you. But you are a responsible, self-learner, that does help.
So then Covid kind of happened during your junior year, you had a semester of being at school with a college class. Do you remember what that was like, what your schedule was like, taking the college classes and also attending your high school?
Laney: Yes, I think I only had four high school classes and then just one college class. It was a lot less stressful and a lot less time spent on school than if I were to be in six or seven classes at high school.
Heather: Would they have let you take just four classes at that point your junior year if you didn’t have a college class?
Laney: No. I don’t think so.
Heather: Yeah, their policy, I think your counselor said, “That’s a privilege reserved for seniors, but since she has a college class we will reduce it to four classes.” So you only had 4 classes, and then what did you do for 5th and 6th period?
Laney: I went to the library and I worked on my college classes so by the time I came home I didn’t really have much to do if at all.
Heather: Yeah, then you had dance team practice and you were getting home like way later and you were pretty much done with school and with your classes, because you did all your stuff in the library 5th and 6th period instead of wasting your time in more high school classes. And do you remember the reason why you were able to do that? Because these college classes helped you with the high school requirements.
Laney: Yes, so I took like an English class one of the times and that also helped me with college English as well.
Heather: Yes, so that one English class that you took in high school on the college level, online, took care of your high school English requirement your senior year, so you didn’t have to take English your senior year and it took care of your general education English class in college. So then you ended up taking a second English class, too, right after that so you are done with your English requirements! And now you’re getting ready to go to college, and you saw how far ahead you are. How does that make you feel?
Laney: It’s nice because I have pretty much all my GE’s done so I don’t have to go in like every other freshman who’s taking those, and I can just go straight in and focus on what I’m studying.
Heather: And what is that you’re studying?
Laney: I’m studying nursing. I want to be a nurse.
Heather: Was that always your goal?
Laney: No, it wasn’t, actually. I never thought of that growing up. I was like, “I could never go to nursing school. I can never do this.” But now I am.
Heather: And what made you decide you could do this then?
Laney: These college classes.
Heather: Really, is that why?
Laney: Oh, for sure. They definitely built my confidence in school. So much. You can give me a class and I can find a way to just do good in it no matter what.
Heather: Yeah and your grades in these college classes have always been high. You always got A’s and B’s and that wasn’t necessarily the case with all of your high school classes, right?
Laney: No, it wasn’t. But I also think I care more about these college classes to get good grades.
Heather: What are the differences? Why are you getting better grades in your college classes?
Laney: Because I was like, “Oh high school is just high school.” But like, even though high school has like a lot to do with your future, I think these college classes have even more to do.
Heather: So, tell me real quick what makes these college classes a little bit easier for you to get better grades than maybe some of your high school classes?
Laney: There’s a lot of things, but some of the main things are that: there are very clear due dates and expectations are laid out really well; each teacher that I’ve ever had in college they all gave us instructions really well, they really talked through it with us very thoroughly so I knew exactly what I was doing for each assignment; and then each week is laid out right in front of you for the weekly modules and that just made it a lot easier because I could visually see my week, or my whole semester, for that class.
Heather: Yeah, and you were really good at plugging in due dates, when you saw them on those modules. Didn’t they give you a syllabus, too?
Laney: Yeah, they had everything that we were going to do the whole semester on their syllabus.
Heather: And did you feel like if you had a question for the teacher that they were available to you to get in contact with pretty easily?
Laney: Yeah, every time I needed my teacher, I would just send them a message in the inbox, and they always got to me within a day or less, and they’re really helpful each time.
Heather: And definitely not to put down high school teachers, because I think what they do is amazing, and I have my high school math teaching certificate because I was even thinking of becoming a high school teacher at one point, but I felt like the teachers treated you with much more respect at the college level than some of your high school teachers have at the high school level, making it easier to succeed.
Laney: Yeah, for sure, a lot easier to talk to you about things. I was always scared to talk to my teachers–some teachers in high school– about things because I was like, “Is this a dumb question?” But these college teachers are like, “Ask me anything; no bad questions” and so that helped. I’m just an overall better student now because of them.
Heather: Yeah, and I’ve seen your confidence grow big time. Like you went from, “I don’t know what I want to do” to “I think I’m gonna be a lawyer” to “Actually, maybe a nurse.” So just really quick, going back to your junior year I wanted to ask you, do you remember if your junior year taking a college class while taking four high school classes, was that harder, easier, more work, less work, than your freshman and sophomore year?
Laney: I think it was definitely a lot easier and less work because of the layout and because I had more time to do it. Yes, definitely an easier path.
Heather: Okay, so Laney, overall, I know your mom made you do this to begin with, but are you happy that you did it? How do you feel about it overall?
Laney: Yes, I am very happy that I did this because I just feel really lucky and I’m happy I did it because I’m ahead and it was definitely worth the extra work sometimes. And I’m grateful that my mom did this for me. (Made me do it.)
Heather: I know, because that came with some summer school too. I think I got more excited about than you did. I’d be in here planning your future like, “Okay! We need to take a summer school class.” So that wasn’t always fun. But worth it?
Laney: It was definitely worth it; definitely worth it, for sure.
Heather: So in closing, Laney, is there anything you’d like to tell the moms of the world who have teenagers who might want to do this college classes in high school thing?
Laney: Yes, I think that if I could tell all the moms out there to just do this because I think it saves a lot of time and a lot of money.
Heather: It does, especially in California where we live, you get free tuition by being a high school student. Did you know that?
Laney: I didn’t know that.
Heather: But you’re right, it can save a lot of money. And I don’t know how many states have that deal with the high schools but I know there are a lot of states out there that if you’re a high school student taking college classes you only have to pay student fees which was like $35 a semester. And then we did have to buy your books, but I would find them cheap on Amazon, used. And you were going to say something else.
Laney: Yeah, and it definitely builds confidence. It’ll make your children feel like they can do bigger things with their lives instead of just the bare minimum. It’ll make them feel like they can go out in the world and do bigger things and have confidence.
Heather: Yes I’ve seen your confidence grow; I’ve seen your work ethic– you’ve always had a really good work ethic—but I’ve seen that grow; and now you’re going out there and you’re like, “I can do anything I want to do.”
Laney: I could be a lawyer! Just kidding.
Heather: Yeah, to even think that for a while I was like, “Wow this Laney, she’s really changing and growing.” Because you know you can do it and college doesn’t scare you anymore.
Heather: So, you’re about to go to college, in a month.
Laney: Yes, I am.
Heather: And how do you feel about that?
Laney: I feel really a lot better than I did when I was growing up thinking about college. I was like, “I can never get good grades in college” like, “How am I going to even get into college?” But now I’m excited that I’m going in there a lot more confident. I’m going to do great, I feel like.
Heather: You will. And there are a lot of things to stress about, I’ve noticed. We’re stressing about a lot of different things around here getting you ready to go, but I don’t feel like really the classes are that much on your mind, compared to other things.
Heather: I think that earlier on had you not done this, classes would’ve really, you would’ve been really questioning yourself, “Can I even do this?”
Laney: For sure. And I’d have to take extra school because I would have to do my GE’s too, but now I’m just going right into studying what I want to do for my career.
Heather: Yeah. And what I love is getting you ready for college you’re like, “Yep! I need this notebook for this class, and I need these pens and these highlighters because I know how I study and I know what I need.” Like, you’re telling me your supplies instead of me at the beginning of your college class high school experience, I’m like, “You need to take notes, you need to have notebooks for each class.” And now you’re like, “I would like a two-subject, college ruled notebook for each class.” And you know you just know exactly how to study and exactly what to do. I’m sending a different child to college than I thought I would, because we stumbled across this amazingness of college credits in high school.
Heather: Well, thank you for doing this for me today and telling everybody out there about this so that they can learn a little bit from you and from me with my Work Smarter Program.
Laney: Yeah this is fun, mom. I’m happy I did this.
Heather: I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I did. I could talk to Laney all day; she’s so fun. Be sure to check out my free workshop that tells you even more about my Work Smarter Program. All the links are in the show notes as well as on my website the-mommywhisperer.com. It’s there right at the top. This program comes with an exclusive private Facebook group where I make myself available to answer all of your questions, so I hope to see you in there.
The confidence your child will develop by taking just a few college credits in high school is invaluable because self-confidence is the foundation of all great success and achievement.
Thank you for joining me today and I’ll talk to you next time.