Senior Emily Harling donned her cap and gown earlier than her fellow Purple Eagle classmates as she earned her associate’s degree in liberal arts and science general studies from Genesee Community College this past weekend.
Harling started taking college-level and AP classes during her freshman year and realized an associate’s degree could be attainable with a little hard work. She then enrolled in more GCC classes during the summer and reached all the requirements to earn a college degree before receiving her high school diploma.
“It was definitely a lot of extra work,” said Harling. “I’m really happy I did it, and I think I’ll be even happier when I’m in school next year.”
She will already be a step ahead of her fellow high school graduates when she steps on the campus of Duquesne University this fall. Knowing that her GCC credits would transfer into her college of choice was an important consideration when looking at schools.
“Having two years done gave me a lot more flexibility with where I could go because I saved a ton of money,” said Harling. “And I have all my prerequisites done so I can pretty much get right into major-specific classes. I want to go to law school, so it’s nice that I will not be in school forever.”
Harling took the initiative on herself to get enrolled in college classes while in high school and made sure to ask and look into what opportunities were available. She had help along the way, but also showed an individual personal drive to accomplish the goal.
“In high school you don’t get a lot of cool points for going out and doing this,” added Harling, “but I mostly did it for myself. My parents didn’t pressure me or anything, they were supportive, but they didn’t force me into it.”
For upcoming high school students, Harling advised to talk to the counseling staff and make sure to do your own research to see what scholarship and grant opportunities are available.
Later in June, she will once again put on a cap and gown, this time with her fellow high school senior classmates. For upcoming high school students, she offered this bit of advice:
“Just do what you’re going to look back and be proud of yourself for.”