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Bard High School Early College Offers Public School Students Free, High Quality Education

The author offers an uplifting example of a public high school that offers students exceptional education in New York City, but wants more students across the US to have similar opportunities.

We're pleased to announce the winners of The Nation's fifth annual Student Writing Contest.
This year we asked students to send us an original, unpublished, 800-word essay detailing how their education has been compromised by budget cuts and tuition hikes. We received hundreds of submissions from high school and college students in forty-four states. We chose one college and one high school winner and ten finalists total. The winners are Amanda Lewan of Michigan State University and Melissa Parnagian of Old Bridge High School in New Jersey. The winners receive a cash award of $1, 000 and the finalists, $200 each. All receive
Nation subscriptions. Many thanks to The Nation Institute for its generosity in making this contest possible. - The Editors

About the Author

Sam Levine is seventeen years old and attends Bard High School Early College in New York City.

The day that the course catalogue comes out at my school is like Christmas morning. Almost as soon as the catalogues are put out, they disappear, and my friends and I run through the hall frantically circling all of the classes that we want to take. Instead of worrying about choosing between AP English and AP Government, we're excited to see that "Novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky" and a political science course called "Equality" are being offered.

My high school, Bard High School Early College (BHSEC), offers a nontraditional alternative to high school in New York City. Founded as a collaboration between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education, BHSEC is a free, public school that challenges students to complete all of their high school requirements by the end of tenth grade. During the last two years of high school I was able to choose from a plethora of onsite college courses taught by college professors, many of whom have doctorate degrees in their field of study. BHSEC graduates receive both a Regents diploma from New York State and an Associate of Arts degree from Bard College equivalent to sixty transferrable college credits. For evidence of BHSEC's success since its founding in 2001, one needs to look no farther than the significant percentage of my graduating class of 2010 who will be the first in their family to go to college.


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Q&A

avatar
How can a student go to college for free?

Option 1: Many Universities offer presidential scholarships which cover tuition, room and board and an on-campus meal plan.
Option 2: The military. If enrolled in the military, the government will pay for everything if you go to a military academy. In exchange for this, you must serve 2-6 years on active duty or overseas.