Dual Enrollment: Transportation Problems

Isaac Sierra

A pang of anxiety causes the student to shiver as she walks back from her college class, having just received an expensive parking ticket. Her anxiety rapidly becomes frustration as she realizes that there was nothing she could have done to prevent the situation. Being a high school student, how was she supposed to know that her car was in a faculty-only spot? Some students at West Ottawa have elected to take classes at Hope College to push their education to new limits. It allows them to experience college as a high schooler while learning advanced material at a cheaper price. Dual Enrolling can provide many opportunities for a student, but there is one enormous problem in the system: transportation.

Dual enrolling through Hope College can expand a student’s horizons significantly and provide them with a formidable academic challenge. It also provides high school students with the opportunity to take college classes with reduced fees. Nevertheless, the transportation problem made it very difficult for students to succeed in these classes. Unfortunately, West Ottawa does not have the capability to bus students to Hope College and dual enrolled students that are incapable of driving have to find their own method of transportation. Often times, these students have no alternative but to seek transportation from their parents. Consequently, parents have to take off of work to simply drive students to their classes. “I think a bus would help out a lot. Since most of the classes are during the day, my parents have to get out of work to take us to and from Hope College,” Soph. Alex Ky said. However, due to the variety of colleges that students are dual enrolling at and the inconsistency of college schedules, it is inconvenient for West Ottawa to bus students to their dual enrollment classes. Unfortunately, this has caused enormous problems for students like Ky who do not have classmates in their college courses who are capable of driving. It has also caused problems for the parents of these students who have to take off of work every day to transport students.This problem could be remedied if the college allowed for all West Ottawa students enrolled in the same course to attend the same class. This way, the students capable of driving would be able to simply transport the others. The transportation problem for dual enrolled students incapable of driving is significant and a change is desperately needed.

There has also been a serious transportation problem with high school students that are capable of driving themselves to their college classes. Although they do not have to worry about a ride at all, they do have to worry about where to park their cars. Hope College has many parking lots and the purpose of each can be confusing to a student that does not even attend the college. “I was ticketed on my third day of class because I accidentally parked in a staff lot. This lot had no sign indicating that it was a faculty lot, but it was outside a faculty only building which I had not recognized as I am not familiar with Hope’s campus.” Sr. Julia Woods said. Woods has not even known the campus and although she did eventually get her ticket repealed, the entire situation was troubling. Woods is also not the first person to get a parking ticket at Hope, and nothing has been done since to prevent this situation from occurring. To fix the problem, dual enrolled students should be given parking passes along with instructions from the college as where to park and what parking lots are off limits. This would inform students like Woods which parking lots are available to them. The parking ticket problem is also very serious as it causes students to waste money on a ticket for a completely unnecessary reason.

Although there are flaws in the dual enrollment system, there are also many positive attributes to the program. It allows students to take classes that stretch even farther than what West Ottawa already provides and it reduces the price significantly. “Students with 3.5 GPA who dual enroll at Hope College get the benefit of Hope paying for 1/2 of the left over bill after WO pays its portion.  Currently, WO pays $593.00,” Guidance Counselor Mitch Veldkamp said. Getting over 50% off a college class is tremendous and it makes it financially possible for students to take the class as well. Dual Enrollment provides incredible opportunities for students at a price that is acceptable.

Dual enrollment through Hope College has two significant transportation problems and the system needs to be improved to properly accommodate the advanced students at West Ottawa. However, Dual enrollment is a fantastic program for students willing to push the limits of their education. It provides students with the opportunity to take college level classes for far cheaper, while taking the great high school classes at West Ottawa. Not all high schools offer the courses that West Ottawa has, and courses like dual enrollment provide the opportunity for students to truly become college, career, and life ready.