Increasingly freshmen are bringing college credit from high school

Freshmen are bringing more than just dorm room supplies with them to their first year of school at Baldwin Wallace.

As the growth of College Credit Plus (CCP), Advanced Placement (AP) courses and Associate degrees allowed in high schools’ increases, the number of students entering college with additional credit hours, or classes that come in as direct replacements for BW classes, has also increased.

10 percent of the freshmen class started with an average of 9 hours of AP credit. Although an annual trend, the amount of CCP and Associate degree credits transferred in was higher than years past, said Steve Stahl, BW Provost.

Although one-third of students are bringing in an average of 18 credits, this may create positive opportunities for BW to act upon.

“The trick is [if] those students have that many hours, we need to make them understand that that just gives them a greater opportunity at BW,” said Stahl. “I tell parents that if our students get 120 hours, if they get a GPA that’s a 2.0, if they complete a major and a minor, if they complete the core they will get a degree. But if that’s all they get, that’s a shame because it’s really about that extra opportunity.”

Students who enter the university with extra credits are able to take more elective classes outside of their major and core classes. With the extra space in their schedules, students have more time to take advantage of on campus groups and off campus opportunities, he said.

Along with these students being ahead of their respective classmates, statistics show that they are retaining at a ten percent higher rate than those who are not taking CCP or AP credits said Tim Sietz, Registrar in Registration and Records at BW. Generally, these students are entering college more prepared, he said.

“Our retention percentage as a whole is about 80-82%, so you can see that if they are coming in with AP or CCP they are retained at a little higher of a rate than those who aren’t,” he said. “I think they are more prepared. They’re coming in writing a little better and are more prepared to be a college student.”


Moving Forward

“As this change begins to become a reality, the next steps include conducting more research to find out what type of student is bringing in credits and what classes they are taking before BW,” said Tim Seitz. With the knowledge that some students may leverage the extra credits to graduate early, the same students may feel more inclined to stay at BW to finish their overall degree.

Overall, this change has encouraged the university to look into restructuring the education system to help students grow in different ways. The goal is to continually challenge students to develop them into professionals.

If high school is about finding the right answer, college should be about asking the right question in order to grow, he said.

Stahl posed the question of shaping the system around an internship model, potentially adding a January and May term, to create more time for students to complete concentrated research or independent studies. The goal is to make sure that these students still have a “BW stamp” on their diploma, he said.

“We need to look at the positive is that if students are coming in with a notion of perhaps taking fewer hours here, how do we take advantage of that to structure our education and help our students grow in different ways,” Stahl said. “Can we structure our curriculum to take advantage of this to truly live out what our mission is?”

As the semester progresses, Stahl said they will have more information regarding students bringing in college credits. With a clearer understanding of how to make proper changes, the university will adapt more efficiently.