How one student graduated from high school with a college degree

With many Michigan high schools starting the coming academic year online, dual enrollment courses through area colleges and universities are becoming more popular. Dual enrollment courses, which are also offered online, allow high school students to secure college credits at reduced prices or even for free.

Dual enrollment courses are an excellent choice for students who want to take higher-level, specialized or technical courses that aren’t offered at their high school.

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Nate Van Huis graduated with his associate’s degree from Davenport at the same time he graduated from high school

Nate Van Huis is one of these students. Nate was homeschooled for the majority of his elementary and secondary education then enrolled through Hamilton High School in the Entrepreneurship & Global Business program at Careerline Tech Center, a technical school in Holland, Michigan, during his sophomore and junior years.

It was during his time at Careerline that Nate realized the potential opportunities to transfer his business course experience from Careerline to college credits at Davenport University. His mom set up an exploratory meeting and encouraged him to talk with Davenport’s dual enrollment advisor, Stacy Faulkner, to explore Careerline credit transfers. During this meeting, Stacy brought up dual enrollment options that Nate could take advantage of for the remainder of his high school years.

That meeting resulted in an action plan. First, Nate’s enrollment at Hamilton High School allowed him to take two dual-enrollment college courses each semester during his junior year, and four courses each semester during his senior year, in addition to the classes he was taking at Careerline — all for future college credit.

When Nate graduated from high school, he also graduated from Davenport University with an associate’s degree in business administration. 

“It was my mom who signed me up for my first business class,” said Nate. “I wasn’t going to do college. I saw it as a piece of paper with no benefits — just a ton of money and time wasted.”

“But after taking classes at Careerline and getting into the business realm, certain assignments got me more interested in work. I found it was a passion and something I was good at,” he said.

“During my senior year of high school, my Davenport accounting professor, Tamara VandenBerg, showed me where I could go based off of the skills and traits she saw in me. She convinced me to switch my major from business management to managerial accounting and pursue more education — my bachelor’s degree.”

A strong relationship with his academic advisor, Michelle Sall, also helped Nate earn his degree quickly.

“Michelle knew I didn’t want to spend money or waste time on stuff that doesn’t matter,” he said. “She was always willing to organize my schedule in a way that worked around what I wanted and allowed me to continue working full-time during the day. She knew what drove me and what I wanted to accomplish.”

In spring 2021, Nate will graduate from Davenport University with his bachelor’s degree in accounting and a managerial accounting specialty. He has already passed both of his Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exams and is now working to meet his 4,000 hour work experience requirement.

At 20, Nate is preparing for a lucrative career while many of his peers are working to complete their general education and prerequisite courses.

“To be honest, I’m a very frugal person,” said Nate. “I don’t like to waste time or money. Initially, through Careerline, I was able to find my passion. And the team at Davenport helped me recognize the path needed to make that passion a career.”

While dual enrollment may not be for everyone, it’s worth talking with a high school advisor about your options. For homeschool students, a direct conversation with a college dual enrollment advisor works, too. It’s important to understand your options as you chart a course for both your high school and college years — as Nate discovered, being proactive can result in huge savings and a faster path to a successful career.

Davenport University has opened its dual enrollment program to junior and senior high school students statewide. Courses are offered at an 80% savings, making the cost for each 3-credit, 7-week online course less than $500. If a student’s home school approves them taking a dual enrollment course, the state will reimburse the student for each credit hour.

To learn more about Davenport University’s Dual Enrollment program and how you can get a jump start on your college degree at a reduced price, visit www.davenport.edu/dual

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