Getting A Big Jump On College While At Xavier

Do the math.

Students must earn at least 120 credits to graduate from the University of Connecticut. To finish in eight semesters that would be 15 credits a semester.

Seniors Sam Rector and Jack Roy each will leave here with about 25 college credits. Fellow seniors Hartley Torrison and Mario Pugliese will have nearly as many when they graduate in May. All because of the UConn Early College Experience program that allows students to get a jump on college and potentially earn a degree in three, three-and-a-half years, maybe even work toward a graduate degree in their first four years. It saves time … and money. And prepares one for what’s ahead.

 “It has been challenging but very beneficial,” said Roy, who lives in Wallingford. “It has made me a better student and given me a look into what college classes are like while in high school, which is something that I think separates Xavier from some schools.”

This month Xavier was named a Top 10 high school for total number of students enrolled as well as most credit hours taken in the UConn ECE program for the 2021-2022 academic year. Xavier is No. 7 with 220 students enrolled and No. 4 with 1,710 UConn credit hours taken. Guidance counselor Mark Lambert leads the program at Xavier.

When we posted the story of Xavier being in the Top 10 on social media, two Xavier grads commented on Facebook about earning their college degrees early because of the program. There have been many more.

Each course taken through the program is equivalent to the same course offered at UConn. These credits also are highly transferable to other colleges. UConn ECE students have an official university transcript that can be sent to the colleges of their choice.

“Mr. Lambert and the guidance department as a whole encourage taking the courses,” Rector said. “It’s a good way to get college credit, and I’m applying to UConn so that’s a big thing. If I go there I could possibly skip a year.”

Rector is thinking of majoring in business; he’s interested in marketing and economics. One of his UConn ECE courses is Essentials of Economics.

“It’s nice to get a head start with that course in high school,” said Rector, who lives in Essex.

He said the UConn ECE courses are challenging.

“That’s true for pretty much every course I’ve taken here,” Rector said, “but for those ones especially.”   

Roy has not made a college choice yet; he is interested in business and thinks his AP Statistics class has been especially meaningful. “I’ve been able to apply things to everyday life that I have learned in that class,” Roy said.