This school year, I took my first college class at Gannon University as a high school student from Collegiate Academy. The course I was enrolled in was LENG 111, a required freshman English course.
I had heard stories from friends about what to expect from the class and in assignments, so I had some degree of preparation. While some of their experiences did mirror mine, others were different.
When the fall semester began, I was a bit apprehensive. I worried if the course load would be too heavy and add stress to my already complex senior year school schedule; however, that fear soon faded as the semester continued.
For the few weeks during the summer when classes began, I was not as worried about the workload since I had plenty of free time that was not occupied by being in high school to work on my assignments, but once the school year started at Collegiate, I began to stress over managing my high school workload with my dual enrollment classes.
Once I got used to juggling my responsibilities at Gannon and Collegiate, I was not as worried as I was before.
My work ethic developed from being in various clubs throughout my four years of high school and other extracurricular activities came into play during this transition. I adapted accordingly and applied the time management skills Collegiate taught me so I could complete my assignments in a timely manner and to my best abilities.
Overall, I can undoubtedly say that this course has strengthened my writing skills and made me a better editor, which I can apply both when writing articles for my school newspaper, The Pride, and reviewing students’ essays as an editor at our writing center.
I owe my growth as a writer partly to my instructor. I feel lucky to have had an instructor who reads through his students’ work and gives them constructive criticism, which was not the case in all LENG 111 classes, according to my peers.
The notes and corrections diligently written on our assignments helped me catch mistakes I was unaware of making or was repeatedly making.
Another aspect of my experience at Gannon that was helpful was the time we spent reviewing proper grammar rules and writing mechanics, much of which was new to me.
At Collegiate, we did not spend any time reviewing grammar rules in the English classes I was enrolled in, so all my grammar knowledge up to this fall came from lessons I had learned along the way or remembered from middle school.
My English classes at Collegiate consisted of an introductory freshman English literature course, Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, and Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition. While these classes are heavily writing-based, we spent most of the time reading, writing, and discussing, rather than allocating a sufficient amount of time for the revision and feedback process, which is crucial for becoming a better writer.
If it was not for my newspaper class, which I had joined my sophomore year of high school, I do not think I would have been as well-prepared for the course as I was.
Additionally, I appreciated that the assignments chosen for LENG 111 are applicable to real life. At Collegiate, I completed many assignments that will certainly help me in college and further down the road in my academic pursuits, but I think that Gannon has better prepared me for communicating professionally in the real world.
For example, we learned how to write a professional letter, which could be used when petitioning for a cause or proposing a project to a group of investors. We also were taught how to compose a commentary, which students could send to a newspaper or other periodical on an issue they feel passionate about. Each of these assignments I could see myself using for reference in the future.
Taking advantage of this opportunity enabled me to get a taste of what college life is like and what my professors will expect of me. I was also given the chance to experience the valuable student resources at Gannon, such as the Writing Center and Nash Library, both of which were immensely helpful to me for the duration of time I was a Gannon student.
Maddy Miller, a high school junior and first-time dual enrollment student, said she enjoyed her professor and had a great experience overall at Gannon.
“It gave me a little more insight into college life because I was constantly surrounded by current Gannon students,” she said. “Also, the workload was a lot less than I expected, so that was a good surprise.”
Laquann Moyer, a high school senior and second-year dual enrollment student, said taking classes at Gannon enabled her to get a feel for what a typical college class would be like.
“Also, I loved that most of the assignments we did were different from a high school class,” she said. “It allowed us to have not as many guidelines on our writing, which took some getting used to.”
However, Moyer did have one negative thing to say about her experience – and that pertained to her professor’s grading.
“Some of the writing assignments I worked hard on and expected a certain grade, but instead received a lower grade,” she said. “When my professor would put comments on my writing, they would not be specific on how I could improve it, but rather surface-level observations.”
While I did profusely enjoy the practicality of my dual enrollment class assignments, I do owe much of my readiness for the course, in terms of experience, to Collegiate. It has been my home for the last four years and provided me with incomparable wisdom, guidance and knowledge from my peers and teachers.
After all, high school is meant to teach students skills they will need to be successful after graduation and in college, and I can confidently say Collegiate has done a wonderful job at fulfilling that promise.
As the days toward graduation dwindle, I am looking forward to the next chapter in life, and I am glad Gannon played a part of preparing me for it.