Students enjoy freedom of off-campus class


Sydney Furman

CollegeConnect students must come to a study hall every Monday during last period because they need a certain number of instructional minutes to be technically qualified as Cal High students. They are given optional assignments that are designed to check in on how they’re doing in their off-campus classes.

Priyanka Krishna, Staff Writer

Taking off-campus classes is a growing trend that has been gaining popularity among Cal High students recently. 

Over the last few years, an increasing number of students have chosen to take courses at Diablo Valley College (DVC), a local community college, or online through platforms that offer Advanced Placement (AP) classes instead of or in addition to on-campus classes. 

Students can take core classes such as English, history and math, or classes that are not offered by the school during the summer or school year through DVC or online.

“There are some classes that aren’t available here so the majority of students who take off-campus classes are students that are taking sign language or advanced math or a different kind of science,” counselor Rachelle Goldenberg said.

Some students are more inclined to take off-campus or online courses because of the pressure of getting a high GPA or advancing in certain subjects.

Many of these classes allow students to move ahead of their grade level in certain subjects, some of which are weighted as AP classes. 

They also give students the opportunity to take classes that are more difficult or enjoyable than on-campus classes. 

“I had a full schedule my freshman year but I felt that I could take something more challenging. That summer, I took cultural anthropology at DVC,” junior Niitiggya Taneja said. “Not only did it look good on college apps, but it also helped fill one of my general ed requirements for college.” 

When taking DVC classes, students are given a head start for completing college requirements while attending classes that are unlike typical on-campus courses.

Many students like this new experience of college classes over traditional on-campus classes. 

“I’d say I prefer off-campus because I feel like even though it’s a college class, there isn’t all that Cal High stress,” sophomore Poorvi Venugopal said. “You get to go off campus and you can explore there and see what college life is like a little bit.” 

Along with DVC courses, students are also beginning to take online courses to replace or add to the courses they take at Cal.

When taking online courses, students said they enjoy working on the course at their own convenience, and often complete them during the summer. 

“I took online classes so that I could work at my own pace, learn from the comfort of my bed, and without the pressure of a public setting,” sophomore Roshni Aradhya said. 

Despite the expense of online courses, many students prefer them because they are able to work on their own schedule without leaving their home. 

There is also a wider variety of classes to choose from online rather than on-campus classes to fill certain requirements.

“Online classes are beneficial because students are given the opportunity to attend classes which they are passionate about or are not offered by the school,” sophomore Sharanya Sharma said. 

A program known as CollegeConnect has also become more popular among students. CollegeConnect is a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to attend college classes at DVC.

The program requires a two-year commitment during junior and senior years. Students have to leave school early to attend semester-long classes at the college certain days of the week. 

Students receive credit for a total of eight AP classes from the courses they take that count toward high school and college credits. Students are not required to take the AP exam to receive college credit, while students taking AP classes on campus often feel pressured to take the test.

Some students choose this program over on-campus AP classes because it provides them with an insight into the college experience.

“The thought of going to DVC and taking classes there and leaving Cal early, I thought it’s just cool,” Venugopal said. “The stress load for Cal would be a little less and since I get a support class for DVC, I thought it’d be really cool.”

Students also lean toward this program because they receive aid from CollegeConnect counselors at the college and a counselor at Cal, as well as a support group. 

“The mandatory support class is every Monday, fifth or sixth period, so if you have any questions or if you don’t understand how to do something, you can talk with your friends or peers and they can help you,” Venugopal said. 

Aside from the cost of transportation, all of the expenses are paid for by DVC and the district when students take courses through CollegeConnect.

But some students still prefer on-campus courses because they have the usual structured schedule that students are accustomed to. They are much more familiar with these traditional classes compared to the foreign environment of DVC classes.

Regardless of this, off-campus courses are gradually becoming more and more appealing to high school students.

“I feel like high school is high school, but if you go off campus, you’re gonna learn a lot more,” Venugopal said.