Julia Sides

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Pre-College Programs Can Ease Anxiety for High School Students

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It might come as a surprise that taking a college English class as a high school junior would ease anxiety about college, but for one Vermont high school student, that’s exactly what happened. 

When South Burlington High School junior Julia Sides reviewed her course load with her school counselor, she explored how to satisfy credits needed for high school while also freeing up time in her busy schedule. Taking a class through The University of Vermont (UVM) Pre-College program during the summer made a lot of sense. “All of the courses I considered would count towards the credits required for high school, but I really liked the idea of also graduating with college credit,” said Julia. The next step was accessing the Vermont Dual Enrollment program which provides up to two college courses free of charge, and Julia was on her way to her first college class. 

Experiencing College in High School Eases Anxiety

Julia signed up for Written Expression at UVM, a three-credit English course that focuses on learning to write and revise for rhetorical situations. She was very nervous when starting her first college class especially since she didn’t consider herself to be a very strong writer. But perseverance paid off and she completed the course in four intense weeks. Not only did she gain a better understanding of the writing process, she says the course also eased her anxiety over what college will be like in the future. 

“The best way to ease anxiety is to just go out there and do it, in a smaller, more manageable way. Instead of just jumping right into college, I decided that I would just take one course over the summer while still in high school. At the end of the course, I felt really good.” 

High School Students Gain More than College Credits

Julia has always been good at managing her time. Between weekly practices as a gymnast and a gymnastic coach, she was used to keeping a pretty tight schedule. Adding a college class during what was already a busy summer, Julia accelerated her time management skills. “I thought it was going to be a lot of late nights, but I was able to work it into my schedule and figure it out. At the beginning of the week, I would sit down and write out everything I had to do. I would find gaps and spots where I could get my schoolwork done.”

Julia’s advice to high school students who are considering taking a college class, “the professors are there to help you and there are a ton of resources too. I would recommend it; it’s more manageable than you think it’s going to be and not as scary as you may think.”

High school students can take college classes during their junior or senior year at The University of Vermont throughout the year and in the summer both online and on campus. 

Check out the Pre-College Programs at UVM

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