Summer Studies

A new study published in USA Today shows less than half of all teens have summer jobs.

The U.S. Labor Department says nearly 70 percent of teenagers had jobs in 1978.

That number has slowly dropped over the years and now stands at about 48 percent.

While those figures are dropping, the number of students enrolled in school in the summertime has grown.

It used to be that most teenagers spent their summer break flipping burgers.

But now many are hitting the books.

16 year old Andrew Dennis will enter his junior year of high school this fall, but he's extending his education into the summer months.

"I wanted to get a headstart on college; get three credit hours knocked out," said Dennis.

Western Kentucky University's dual-credit program gives high school students a chance to earn college credit while also completing their diploma requirements.

"This gives these kids a legs-up. They get a chance to try - in high school - a college class, without putting out the big bucks for a semester," said sociology instructor Lisa Boswell.

Amelia Arritt has big goals.

After graduating high school she plans to enter the Air Force Academy and one day become a surgeon.

She enrolled in summer college courses to remain competitive with others her age.

"I was able to focus completely on the course and not have to worry about any interruptions," Arritt explained.

Andrew and Amelia join a national trend of teenagers choosing to take classes rather than take on summer jobs.

"Some of our students leave high school with 18 hours, 12 hours, 15 hours of university credit," said WKU Dual Credit Program Specialist Dewayne Neeley.

There are several reasons for the dual credit program's growth.

College courses give weighted grades, so it can raise a student's GPA.

Plus, it looks impressive on scholarship and admissions applications.

"Universities are looking at a lot more than just academics anymore. They're looking for a well-rounded student," said Boswell.

While the courses may prove a challenge, more students are finding it worth the extra effort.

"I can tell a difference in the workload - how much you have to study for tests - the tests are essays instead of multiple-choice," admitted Dennis.

The number of students in the dual credit program at WKU has grown from 563 enrollments in 2004-05 to more than 1,467 in 2006-07.

For more information on the dual credit program, contact Dewayne Neeley at WKU at 270-745-2386 or dewayne.neeley@wku.edu.


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