2+2 Program Provides Opportunity

Imagine a world where students are granted two diplomas in two days: one from Southwestern Oregon Community College (SOCC) and one from Marshfield High School. Now imagine it is this world.
All too often, students who attend schools in small communities graduate without much opportunity beyond the usual coursework required to obtain a high school diploma. The 2+2 program, also called the College Now program, that SOCC offers to MHS students is an exception to this rule. The program allows students the opportunity to gain college credits through an accredited community college while attending high school classes. However, the program is a two-way street and also allows students to gain high school credit for classes taken on the SOCC campus.

The best part? All credits obtained from SOCC are paid for by the Coos Bay School District.

With the help of the 2+2 program, two seniors are on track to graduate with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree at the time of their high school graduation: myself and one other.

Marshfield’s ability to offer classes which will help college-bound students is one of the things that makes the school competitive. In a world where poor communities produce poor school districts, opportunity is often compromised. This gives students the inability to compete for college admission with schools which have a larger budget and the ability to offer electives and college-level courses. The 2+2 program provides an outlet for students who wish to compete for such things, but does not require students who simply wish to graduate to complete any extra coursework. That is, graduation requirements have not been raised, but opportunity has been provided for those who wish to take advantage.

For students who stay on track throughout the course of high school, the minimum graduation requirement provides curriculum that can be completed in three full years, with the senior year only requiring half a day or less. Many students find jobs to save for college or fill the extra time with electives, but an alternative option would be to get a jump-start on a college education. This is the path I chose to take and it has allowed myself and my classmate to be on track to complete our Bachelor’s Degrees just two years after high school graduation. This means I will be able to obtain my Master’s Degree one year before many members of my graduating class are able to complete a Bachelor’s Degree. It is also notable that the first two years of our college educations have been free, a savings of close to $20,000 in tuition costs alone, at Southern Oregon University, where I plan to attend.

Many would call this the path of an overachiever. However, I do not. The truth is, overachievers simply do not exist because, as defined by Merriam-Webster, an overachiever is “someone who has much more success than is normal or expected,” a definition so vague that it hardly discusses the topic at all. The problem is, the normal amount of success that should be achieved by any certain age is a matter of opinion and differs with each individual. This program allows students to achieve what they wish to achieve, but does not put any additional pressure or responsibility on the graduation requirements set by the high school.

Though typical Oregon graduation requirements prepare students for state colleges, provided the student achieves a notable GPA, students who wish to attend more competitive colleges will need a leg up. This can be obtained through 2+2 coursework. Not only are students who have gone beyond the bare minimum more attractive to colleges, but they are also prepared to complete the coursework, as the community college requires that students complete at least 90 credits through 100 and 200-level courses. This allows students to be more comfortable both in the experience and the finances when they begin their time at a university.

For those who wish to go above and beyond what is required, the 2+2 program provides an opportunity to do just that. Students at all academic levels will graduate with credits in writing, math and literature which can be transferred to the university of their choice, but for two of us, the 2+2 program means two diplomas in two days.