Christian White's Story

It started with an introduction to college class as a freshman, followed by a handful of elective courses as a sophomore. In his junior year, Christian White moved onto the English and math classes he would have normally taken as a first-year college student.

This year, the Reynoldsburg High School senior is taking on more general education courses at Columbus State Community College’s regional campus, feeling confident about how college works.

“Knowing that I can do this, I can achieve this… that’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he said.

White, who attends the high school’s BELL Academy, knew he was college-bound even before starting high school. But he believes taking college classes – and earning top marks for his work – has helped him stand apart in a competitive college applicant pool.

“The moment you can say, ‘I’ve got an A in a college course,’ that means something to a college,” he said. “They know you can do the coursework. They know you can handle whatever they give you.”

White credits the support of his teachers, whose encouraging words pushed him to work harder.

Support is crucial, he said. When officials from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement toured his school campus in February, White told them it’s important that each student has an individualized plan that connects their high school work to their postsecondary plans. Counselors need to spell out options and check in with students multiple times during the school year, he said.

“It would be great for counselors to say, ‘Obviously you don’t like that class and that’s a big part of the career you want to go into. Maybe you’ll want to rethink that career,’” he said.

A similar situation happened with White’s sister, who planned to study chemical engineering at Miami University only to discover she didn’t like the chemistry course. She has since changed her major to environmental science, White said.

White, meanwhile, is excited about his postsecondary plans.

“Today I do things that others don’t so tomorrow I can do things they can never do,” he said

He discovered a passion for marketing through a Columbus State digital media class he took as a sophomore. This fall, White will attend Miami University’s Farmer School of Business.

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