Dual credit classes give MHS students a jump on college

By: Merrillville Community Schools Last Updated: February 9, 2020

Three seniors and 12 juniors recently earned college credit by taking the dual credit AP Physics course at Merrillville High School (MHS).

This was the first year MHS offered AP Physics, an algebra-based physics class that covers the first physics college semester for those not majoring in physics or engineering.

“Please congratulate my AP/dual credit physics students that earned college credit through Purdue Northwest,” said MHS Physics Teacher Ronda Waters. “All of them have received the credits for Physics 220. I am proud of how hard they worked.”

The class is one of a vast number of opportunities MHS offers its students to not only meet the requirements for completing high school, but to get a jump start on their college careers.

This year, MHS students are on track to earn more than 1,400 college credits. During the 2018-19 school year, 317 students earned 1,049 college credits, up from the 2017-18 school year when 222 students earned a total of 912 college credits.

Physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, biology, Spanish, drawing, U.S. history, construction, radio and television, marketing, entrepreneurship, culinary arts and hospitality, education, fire and rescue, and automation and robotics are examples of the wide variety of MHS courses that offer dual credit.

According to Michelle Wilson, MHS guidance director, the majority of students who register for dual credit classes will earn college credit, as long as they complete all of the requirements, which may include minimum GPAs, online registration with the associated colleges, or even minimum test scores on the SAT or PSAT.  

Not only do students save time by not having to take the college course, they save money. Credits earned in the dual credit classes offered through the school’s partnership with Ivy Tech are completely free and transfer to any Indiana public college or university through the Indiana Core Transfer Library. 

Through partnerships with Indiana University and Purdue Northwest, college credits are $25 each; for students on the free and reduced lunch program, credits are FREE.

Aside from the dual credit courses, AP tests can also provide college credit when scores are high enough. Students are encouraged to take AP tests. So test costs aren’t a barrier for students, a state grant pays for the costs of the tests for all STEM plus English AP exams. In addition, Merrillville High School was awarded a grant this year to pay for AP tests that do not fall under that STEM plus English umbrella.