WESTMINSTER — The courses of South Carroll High School graduate Kristine Lumadue included calculus, chemistry and English last year.
But the 18-year-old student didn't take the courses at South Carroll High School. She earned enough high school credits to skip her senior year and take classes at Carroll Community College instead.
Lumadue is among a select group of Carroll high school students taking college-credit classes at CCC. While she was able to bypass hersenior-year classes, other students are taking college courses alongwith their high school curriculum.
"There was a lot of adjustmentat first," said Lumadue, who plans to transfer her credits to Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Va., where she will study engineering this fall. "You're on your own a lot at a community college.Teachers don't tell you to do this or that like they do in high school."
Carroll Community College does not have a program specifically geared toward high school juniors and seniors. To be eligible to apply for classes, prospective students must be 16 years old, said George Poling, coordinator of admissions.
To follow in Lumadue's path,students must go through the usual application process, take academic placement tests, and receive permission from school officials to take courses concurrently at the college.
"It's there, available forthe student," Poling said. "It's not something we actually promote as a program. But we don't discourage students from doing it either. We don't really encourage this on a real active basis simply because it's often difficult to be a full-time high school student and go to college."
Poling estimated that only a handful of Carroll high school students take classes concurrently at the college during their junior and senior years. He said it is difficult to track their numbers because they are not separated from other students.
During her senior year, Jenny Krumrine took several courses -- including philosophy, calculus and sociology -- at the college, and three courses -- German, physics and advanced grammar -- at Westminster High School.
"It was harder than I thought it would be at first," the 17-year-old student said. "I did more studying than I ever did before in my life. But I think it really prepared me for college."
Jenny said the credits for all but one of her college courses will transfer to St. Mary's college, St. Mary's County, where she will pursue a degree in physics this fall.
The advantages of taking courses include the transferring of credits to four-year institutions, lower college costs (CCC's tuition is $39 per credit hour, compared to $75 at St. Mary's), andan edge in adjusting to a college workload, Poling said.
Before high school students begin college classes, counselors sit down with them and their parents to decide what the best course of action is andto get an idea on what their educational goals are, Poling said.
"We have to assist them through the process of choosing courses," he said. "Some students in accelerated programs find CCC beneficial because they can accelerate the number of credits they have before they continue to a four-year institution."
Both Jenny and Lumadue found the community college experience beneficial. Neither felt like they missed much of their senior year. Both attended prom and other school-related events.
"I learned a lot and made a lot of college friends," said Jenny, who had a 4.0 grade-point average at Westminster High School and graduated in the top 5 percent of her class. "It was challenging to keep up with high school and college work but if I had to do it again, I would."