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How CNM Dual Credit Classes are Helping High Schoolers Stay on Track for College

All the classes are running online so students are receiving credit and working toward their degrees
How CNM Dual Credit Classes are Helping High Schoolers Stay on Track for College
Kimberlee Contreras, left, and Samantha Carrillo

Apr 01, 2020

Hopefully the world never sees another pandemic like the current one, but if we do, both Kimberlee Contreras and Samantha Carrillo will likely be on the front lines as medical providers. Right now they’re high school seniors, but both want to enter the medical field—Kimberlee as a trauma nurse, and Samantha as a doctor. 

To prepare for their fields, Kimberlee (who attends Health Leadership High School) and Samantha (who attends Valley High School) have been taking dual credit classes at CNM, or classes that count for both high school and college credit. This semester Kimberlee is in four CNM classes, several of which will help with her nursing degree. Samantha is taking one that will help her get some pre-reqs out of the way so she can enter UNM as a sophomore, get through her bachelor’s, and into medical school. 

“I started dual credit as soon as possible because I wanted to get ahead,” Samantha says. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

New Mexico is known for its dual credit program because it’s free for any student across the state. Most high schoolers can enroll starting as sophomores and then take classes through their senior year, including during the summers. At CNM, all dual credit students can work with a dual credit achievement coach that’s specifically trained to work with students who are still in high school. 

“Dual credit is not only a great way for students to try college with extra support, but it’s also basically like a scholarship where they get access to higher education without most of the expenses,” says Jennifer McDonald, who runs the dual credit program at CNM.

Jennifer says most students take a couple dual credit classes during the semester and more during the summers if their high school schedules line up. The dual credit classes often satisfy elective credits in high school, but some transfer over to satisfy core requirements. APS students, for example, can take college algebra at CNM and receive credit for Algebra II at their high school.    

For students like Kimberlee and Samantha, the program is an enormous boost, but dual credit can also serve other purposes, too. One of the most important—especially for students who attend CNM—is the ability to explore the wide variety of programs the college offers, instead of being limited to their high school’s offerings. 

“We have lots of students who don’t like being in the classroom, but then they come to CNM and they get to see all our career and technical classes—like welding or electrical trades—and they realize the college experience doesn’t have to be at a desk,” Jennifer says. 

Both Kimberlee and Samantha say they expect to finish their dual credit classes no problem this semester and should be in college come the fall. Jennifer says Summer Term online dual credit classes are on schedule and will be a good opportunity for high schoolers who want to bounce back from the disruptions this semester and keep working on their education. 

Now is the perfect time to keep moving,” she says. “Get enrolled for the summer, get those credits, and keep marching toward college.”

Learn more about dual credit at CNM.