PROFILE: High School Senior Gets A Jump On College
Katherine Acheson will be finished with her first year of college before she graduates high school, thanks to the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program. Students hoping to follow in her footsteps need to talk to their high school guidance counselors by March 31.
Date: 2/14/2005 8:00:00 AM
By: Jacob Dirr
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Other Contact: Dawn Fuller
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
Katherine Acheson, an 18-year-old high-school senior enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, realized she was different from her classmates two years ago. “When I was 16, I picked up a book for a class and everyone hated the ‘stupid assignment,’” she recalls, “but I thought it was fun. That kind of tipped me off.”
For Acheson and like-minded students, the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) at UC offers a chance to get a jumpstart on college, even as early as ninth grade. The program offers Cincinnati-area students the opportunity to earn as much as 15 college credits per quarter while earning their high school credit – as their school district foots the bill.
Acheson, a student at Mariemont High School, enrolled at UC last fall after she took all the classes she felt she needed from high school. She is now taking 15 credit hours a quarter at UC, on top of her job as a waitress.
“When most people go to high school they don’t do all the classes, they have a couple study halls,” she says. “I never took a study hall, so I just crammed all the classes I needed to get.”
Acheson says she plans to study political science and hopes to one day become a lawyer, like her great-grandfather, whose collection of law cases has inspired her to learn. “I love reading law cases and all of the arguments,” Acheson says. “It’s great to be able to support something you believe in.”
While enabling her to get a head start on college, she says the PSEOP has also opened up opportunities for making friends at UC. “I tried to put myself in a position to make new friends,” she says. “It’s just like I’m a college freshman – it confuses everyone.
“It’s like, ‘I’m just like you, except a couple of my credits go back to high school.’” Meantime, Acheson says she was surprised to find that college classes can be fun and do not always require “your nose in the books, 40 hours a week.”
Acheson says she recommends the program for other high-school students. “I’ve definitely enjoyed the program, so far,” she says. “It’s been cool and it fits me. The college life is much more my lifestyle.”
PSEOP is open to qualifying students in Ohio who live within a 50-mile radius of the university. Students must carry a “B” average or a cumulative 3.00 out of 4.00 grade point average.