About 110 local high school students are taking advantage of the dual enrollment program at Texas State Technical College’s Fort Bend County campus this semester.
The number of students participating this year is nearly double that of last year, said Joann Flores, a TSTC dual enrollment recruitment representative. She recently took on the role at the Fort Bend County campus.
“I was really excited to start this new process because I was able to be there in person and start making a change as to how many students enrolled — and have contact with our partners in the ISDs so we can start getting things on a roll here,” she said. “I look forward to getting as many students as we can to know about TSTC and what we have to offer.”
Current dual enrollment partnerships between TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County and nearby school districts include Alief ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Lamar CISD and Needville ISD. Flores and Kadie Svrcek, TSTC director of Internal Operations for dual enrollment, anticipate future partnerships and additional program credentialing that will grow the number of students — and opportunities — in the dual enrollment program.
“I would say that it gets them ready for college,” Flores said of the dual enrollment program’s benefits for students. “It gets them a foot in the door. Once they graduate, that makes things so much easier. I think just getting a little taste of what it’s like to do college makes it not so scary for them to continue and want to further their education.”
There are three options for students to receive their education and training: on-site on TSTC’s campus, off-site on a high school campus with TSTC-credentialed high school instructors, or online. Many of the pathways are hybrid, meaning that students receive some instruction online and additional hands-on training in labs, shops and classrooms.
Flores recalled the feedback she received from a student who completed the dual enrollment program at TSTC.
“He felt very blessed and fortunate to be able to do the program because that made things so much easier for him to transition once he graduated high school,” she said. “It was doing something that he liked to do, which is welding. He already knew what he wanted to do, and it’s something he experienced in high school.”
TSTC offers several technical pathways for dual enrollment students at the Fort Bend County campus, including Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology, Cybersecurity, Diesel Equipment Technology, Digital Media Design, Electrical Power and Controls, HVAC, Industrial Systems, Precision Machining Technology, Structural Welding, and Visual Communication Technology.
Each technical pathway comes with four courses, representing a completed semester at TSTC. If dual enrollment students wish to continue their education at TSTC after finishing high school, their admission process is simplified.
“Even if they don’t want to come to us after they graduate high school, we’re giving them some of the tools they need to be able to enter into a high-paying career,” Svrcek said.
Flores hopes more people discover the advantages that TSTC’s dual enrollment program has to offer.
“I wish more parents knew about this program and how beneficial it is to their son or daughter,” Flores said. “There’s just so much opportunity in being a dual enrollment student. You’re doing the credits already in high school. Why not get the college credits as well?”
School districts that want to explore a dual enrollment partnership with TSTC should send a letter of interest to start the program, Flores added.
“We need other high schools to know what we’re doing and know the opportunities that are available,” Svrcek said. “Fort Bend County is growing, and it’s just going to continue to grow. The opportunities there are endless.”
Learn more about TSTC’s dual enrollment program at tstc.edu/admissions/dual-enrollment/.