Aamina Ahmed: Degree Before College?!

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Aamina Ahmed: Degree Before College?!

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Aamina Ahmed, currently one of ACP’s seniors, has officially obtained her Associates in Science degree before graduating from high school! She did this by taking multiple dual enrollment classes throughout high school, and five online college courses through Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC) over the summer. I asked Aamina some questions to further explain her achievement:

Q: Can you explain what you did to achieve this amazing accomplishment?

A: Throughout my high school career thus far I have taken rigorous classes, and whenever a class was offered for dual enrollment, I would always enroll for the dual credit. This allowed me to amass a great amount of credits, many of which fit the requirements for the Associates in Science degree. After seeing how many college credits I had, I figured it would be wise to push myself to fulfill any remaining credit and get my AA degree. After discussing this with my mother, and then reaching out and working extensively with a college advisor from CGCC, I was able to learn that I needed to take five more courses to attain the degree. These courses essentially fulfilled any Social Science and Humanities credits that I was lacking; and these were not available courses at ACP. Therefore, I took all of these five college classes last summer, through CGCC as online courses. After I completed these remaining credits, I was all set for my degree and officially was set to attain my Associates in Degree.

Q: What classes did you take with Dual Enrollment and at CGCC?

A: The Dual Enrollment classes I took at ACP include: Honors Chemistry, Chinese 3, AP Biology, Pre-Calculus, AP Chinese 4, AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, AP Language and Composition, AP Chinese 5, AP Physics (I might be missing some, but in essence, any class from my high school career that was available for dual enrollment, I signed up to get the dual credit). The college classes I took for college credit this past summer include: Intro to Human Communication, Intro to Multiculturalism, World History 1500-present, Intro to Philosophy, Intro to Psychology

Q: Why did you want the credits before graduating high school?

A: I pursued attaining this Associates degree and all these credits, as it will reduce both time and money that I will have to spend in college. Specifically, I hope to go into the medical field, which means I will need to spend four years for premed before I can even go to medical school, so I pursued the degree and the credits to cut down the four years to two years, and move on to medical school faster, while saving money while I’m in premed.

Additionally, having an Associates in Science degree can give me some amazing opportunities to work in labs or medical related fields. So in the very near future (sometime this school year, or at least the summer before college), I hope to work in a medicine/science related job, using my degree as a way to acquire these job positions.

Photo by Aamina Ahmed

Q: What advice would you tell others who wanted to do the same thing you did?

A: Being the first student at ACP to attain an Associates degree before even graduating high school (if I’m not mistaken) is something I take with great honor, and I hope I can use this to inform other students about maybe pursuing the same thing. Signing up for dual enrollment for as many classes as you can will bring any student great benefits, because just as it did for me, dual enrollment classes can bring a student just a few courses away from an Associates degree. So truly, optimize the vast amount of dual enrollment classes offered at ACP if you wish to also attain an Associates degree. Furthermore, if this is something you want to pursue, contact the college and career center at ACP, and get in touch with a college advisor from a community college as soon as possible. This is important because it will allow you to plan out how far you are in attaining the degree, and you will learn about any credits that you still need to fulfill. Planning ahead to attain this degree is greatly important. And be prepared for hard work! As seen in my case, I had to sacrifice my past summer for college courses, but it was very much worth it. So go into it with a focus and motivated mind, and be willing to make sacrifices if it is important to you.

Lastly, if you have not thought about attaining an AA degree while in high school, I recommend giving it a serious thought as it can bring you many opportunities, just as it did with me!

Congratulations to Aamina for this remarkable achievement and thank you for taking your time to answer these questions. ACP roots for you!