Some people have a hard time identifying their passions. Allison Alston is not one of them. She is interested in international affairs, global studies, political science, education, and policy development and advocacy. And in fall 2019, as she was beginning her senior year as a student at Reservoir High School, she took a significant step in the right direction to gain exposure in all of her fields of interest - she registered as a dual enrollment student at Howard Community College (HCC). The program gives high school students an opportunity to take classes on the HCC campus, gaining a jump start on college credits as well as the overall college experience.
“My older sister participated in the dual enrollment program a few years earlier and it was clear how much she had benefited from it,” said Allison. “I wanted to have those same opportunities, plus the program gave me the flexibility to go to school, work, and pursue volunteer experiences, all at the same time.”
As a dual enrollment student, Allison also had a unique opportunity to serve as a member of Howard County Public School’s Board of Directors, bringing the perspective of students to the table as county educators and stakeholders are discussing issues and opportunities that impact public schools. It’s a role she was elected into by her peers, and has allowed her to build important leadership skills in tandem with her dual enrollment educational experience at HCC.
“I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful college student by taking classes at HCC,” said Allison. “It’s a whole different world from what you experience in high school; you quickly see how important it is to be organized, accountable, and willing to take initiative to get the most out of your educational experience. I feel very well prepared to go to a four-year college next year.”