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Extra Credit - Part two

For many, high school is the beginning of making decisions and weighing options when it comes to the big question that has been asked since kindergarten: “What am I going to be when I grow up?”

Taking a look at Advanced Placement (AP) and Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) for students at Brainerd High School (BHS) in Thursday’s installment in a three-part series about options for high school students, school officials and students took a peek at the ying and yang of earning college credit while in high school. While one offers credits while staying in the halls of BHS and feeling “like a high school student” the other takes place down the windy road at Central Lakes College (CLC).

So what if neither of those is the right option to lead students to their final destination of post-high school life?

BHS offers more.

College in Schools (CIS)

The second most popular shortcut to college credits for students at BHS according to Rusk is CIS.

Offered through The Bridges Career Academies and Workplace Connection, CIS, like AP, is taught at BHS by BHS teachers but includes stricter guidelines to enroll.

Students must be a junior or senior and have maintained a 3.0 GPA as a junior and 2.5 GPA as a senior along with being admitted to CLC.

“CIS is our largest partnership with CLC,” said Rusk, who added that more than 300 students were involved with CIS this past year. “And we also partner with the University of Minnesota in two areas, engineering and agricultural science courses.”

CIS gears toward specific career paths such as applied engineering math, business and administration, engineering Project Lead the Way, health science and nursing where students can earn up to four college credits at CLC and even two credits toward BHS.

But limitations of where the credits transfer also weigh a bit heavier with CIS than for AP courses.

“It’s really manageable,” said junior Gerrit Garberich who took CIS and AP courses this year. “It’s like a regular class that counts as college credit, but in different ways depending on what college you decide to go to and not all colleges really accept it.

“But I really enjoy it all in all.”

Advanced Standing Certificate (ASC)

Rusk said many parents might remember ASC as vocational tech or vo-tech from their high school days. ASC are career and technical courses that are developed by high school and college faculty that present curriculum so the content matches content taught in the college course.

“Advanced Standing goes back in to the 70s, when it was kind of known on and off as vo-tech,” said Rusk. “It’s another great option that keeps kids in high school environment.”

Like CIS, ASC offers courses in designated areas including: agricultural, business, health, tech ed and visual arts.

Offered to juniors and seniors, students my receive at least a “B” grade in order to earn the certificate which can then be applied to certain programs at certain schools.

“If a student wants to take welding and earns at least a B, they then can use that to test out of intro to welding in college and advance to the next level,” said Rusk.

Rusk added that earning a certificate gives students a more hands-on learning instruction along with work and career experience.

As with AP and PSEO courses, CIS and ASC credits are not transferable to every college or university but when applied, that extra credit can save that extra penny.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).