By Mollie Butler
College Now, a free program offered by John Jay College, is a great way to learn outside the classroom. Although this might seem appealing to students coming from a 7-hour school day, the class is a great way to study things that are not offered in standard public education such as psychology, anthropology and criminal justice. All taught at a college level, these classes can earn you up to 3 college credits and provide an alternative to the strenuous 5-day-a-week AP classes.
The College Now program is set up to mimic college life for high school students, serving as a bridge between the two levels of education. The program allows students to experience a college course workload, navigate a college campus, and participate in classes taught in traditional lecture style. Students also get the perks that come along with working in a CUNY school, gaining access to the library and the database that is connected to all the city colleges while using the campus spaces for studying.
Another benefit of the program is the weight it has on a student’s resume and college application. Universities and employers look to see if students push themselves when it comes to academia. Although College Now classes can be long, they are a great way for students to show a commitment to learning outside the classroom–especially at Beacon, where limited space in AP classes prevents some students from having the opportunity to get AP credits.
Personally, I chose this program as an alternative to the minimal AP classes offered at Beacon. I thought it would be better to push myself in a College Now class I was more interested in than struggle to keep up with the workload of AP Biology. I chose Psychology, not realizing how much I would come to enjoy and be interested in the material the class covered more and more as the semester went on. We did projects such as film psychoanalysis, where our homework was to watch movies. The class became more than just a requirement or a box I was checking off for my future college application but something I wanted to engage in.
The transition between Beacon’s collaborative learning style and John Jay’s traditional college lecture style was something that was hard to get used to at first. However, the change allowed me to glimpse the different type of work I would experience in college.
“It was great to have the opportunity to practice a skill such as taking notes based off what the teacher is saying through the class, knowing I will be needing it when it comes to college. College Now gave me an outlet to sharpen these skills in a less rigorous environment,” said Zoe, a junior who took the psychology course during the fall semester.
Sabene Figueroa, a junior who took a criminal justice class and will soon be taking a sociology class, expressed how “College Now courses refer mostly to textbook readings. Definitely this type of learning is different than Beacon as most of my classes don’t require textbooks, but I also realize the work I will [have] to do in college will be very different than [that in] high school. I want to better prepare myself and adjust any way I can.”
For students who want to challenge themselves in a college environment and don’t want to fill their schedules will AP classes, College Now classes are definitely something to look into.