Caitlyn McNicoll is a Grade 12 NDSS student enrolled in VIU’s Academic Dual Credit program.

February 12, 2015 - 3:00pm

Grade 12 student Caitlyn McNicoll is getting a head start on her university studies, and highly recommends Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Academic Dual Credit program to other senior high school students thinking about doing the same.

In her final year at Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS), McNicoll is taking advantage of a partnership between VIU and Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools that offers qualifying students an opportunity to choose from a wide range of VIU academic courses. Tuition for her courses is paid by Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools.

Other school districts in the region are also participating in the Academic Dual Credit program. Tuition is covered for up to two courses per semester, which are considered both senior year electives for high school graduation and credit for university studies.

McNicoll’s mother heard about the program at an NDSS presentation, and encouraged her daughter to think about the opportunity while she was in Grade 11.

McNicoll began taking courses at VIU’s Nanaimo campus at the beginning of the fall 2014 semester. With a goal to becoming a teacher, she decided to explore a wide variety of courses that struck her interest. She took an introductory Sociology course in the fall, and this term is taking two courses, an introductory Anthropology course and History of Theatre.

“In your life you only get a taste of certain things … what your parents do for a living, and your teachers – whereas when you take different courses, you really find where your interests are and what you’re keen to do,” she says.

“This program offers an opportunity for Grade 12 students to come to VIU’s Nanaimo campus and have that first year university, face-to-face, on campus experience a little sooner than they might have,” says Jennifer Merner, Dual Credit coordinator. “Academic Dual Credit students get a taste of what university is like while they are still a part of their high school community.”

High school students who take the Dual Credit program at VIU have to work hard to complete high school credits and the VIU courses they take, says Merner. The positive feedback her office hears, she adds, is the early exposure to university life and the success that is overwhelmingly reported by both students and faculty.

“Our instructors tell us that these are some of the best students in their classes.”

Parents of students in senior high school grades and students thinking of applying for the Academic Dual Credit program will have a chance to learn more at an information session at VIU’s Nanaimo campus at 6:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 16 in Building 355, Room 203.

Currently at VIU’s Nanaimo campus there are 45 high school students registered in 85 courses over the fall and spring terms. Examples of 2014 courses can be found at https://www2.viu.ca/dualcredit/ along with other details. A list of fall 2015 Dual Credit program offerings will be announced in April.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E: shari.bishopbowes@viu.ca


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