Jaysena Rodriguez. Photo by Evie Brewster

“So far, I would describe it as very stressful but also very beneficial. It gives me a slice of adulthood, so I really like it,” Jaysena Rodriguez said of concurrent enrollment at OCCC. 

Rodriguez, a high school junior and a student in the concurrent enrollment program at Oklahoma City Community College, described her experience as a concurrent student.

“I think I’ve been struggling a lot. I feel like I have opportunities to go and have fun with my high school friends, but I have to take into consideration that I have things I have to get done and I can’t always go do everything like I want to,” she said. 

According to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the concurrent enrollment program is for students wishing to obtain college credit hours while still in high school. There are admissions requirements, and only juniors and seniors can enroll.

As a junior, Rodriguez is only a first-year concurrent student. Adapting to college level classes has not been easy, but she likes to see the advantageous side of dual enrollment and how it has helped her up to now.

“It makes me mature a lot faster. It’s just beneficial to the future and you’ll thank yourself later,” Rodriguez said. 

Oklahoma City Community College offers a diverse range of programs that help prepare students for a career or a transfer to a 4-year university. Fees that students acquire are substantially lower than university costs and OCCC can waive up to 18 hours per year for concurrent students. 

Some high schools will also cover the full cost of participating in the concurrent program, including textbook fees. 

The benefits of concurrent enrollment far outweigh any doubts people might have when considering it. 

According to a 2016 report by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 78 percent of institutions offered the dual enrollment option during the 2015-2016 school year and 86 percent accepted concurrent enrollment credit for transferring students. 

Over 75 percent of respondents to the report said dual enrollment is also a recruiting tool, and 9 out of 10 agreed that concurrent enrollment provides more access to college courses. 

Institutions of higher education are seeing concurrent enrollment as an important strategy to aid student success in bigger college environments. 

OCCC is able to provide those opportunities, and more, with their small classes and student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1. 

They strive to provide a real college experience for high school students and supply them with multiple options. 

For Rodriguez, OCCC has held up its end of the bargain.

“OCCC has been beneficial in resources and professors they’ve given us,” she said.

OCCC provides enrollment counselors for concurrent students to talk to at the beginning of every semester. The counselor guides them in selecting which classes they need to take, taking into consideration the student’s status. 

If they are a first-year participant in the concurrent program, they will most likely be assigned basic classes. By the time they have been concurrent students for a year or more, depending on the major they have chosen, classes could be selected to mirror that choice. 

Some students do choose to finish out their basics, usually when they do not have a decided major. Either way, OCCC provides what each student individually needs and guides them in their next best step.

Oklahoma City Community College strives to achieve what is best for its concurrent students. Giving them a genuine college experience and providing them with opportunities sooner than they would have been given is something OCCC is always doing. 

Rodriguez said she plans on continuing concurrent enrollment.

“Definitely. I want to get my associate’s done quicker and also I’m going to be taking summer classes, so I’m definitely going to be doing it again,” Rodriguez said. 

Achieving an associate’s degree faster is just one more advantage of concurrent enrollment. With more universities accepting dual enrollment and using it as an essential part of recruitment, concurrent seems to be playing a bigger part. 

Doors are opening for Rodriguez and other concurrent students.

The success of the concurrent enrollment program has only increased, and with positive experiences for students like Rodriguez, it can only continue to be successful. 

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