Community members enroll
Chemistry Department Administrative Assistant Kathy Savage, 43, has taken one class a term for seven years and will graduate with a psychology major next June.
Courtney Fortier, 17-year high-school student from Windsor, Vt. who will attend Boston University next fall, took a calculus class this fall at the College. Even though she got a "C," she said she was "very glad to have the chance" to take the class.
Fortier and Savage are just two of the many College employees and area high-school students who participate in the Special Community Student Program. The program allows full-time employees and high school students to take one class a term free of charge.
"I love it," Savage said. "I think it's one of those great benefits everyone should take advantage of."
Spouses of employees can also participate in the program, but only at a 50 percent discount on the costs. All discounts are pro-rated for part-time personnel.
There are 10 employees and one employee's spouse involved in the program this term, according to Bethanne Tillotson, the program's coordinator. She said there usually are about 10 employees each term.
The College allows up to 37 high school students take one class from Fall through Spring terms. Currently there are 10 high-school students taking classes.
Tillotson said she does not anticipate any changes in the program in the near future.
Lauren Veno, a high-school student from Windsor, Vt., took an introductory history course this fall. She said she had a great time in the class and recommended it to other high school students.
"Everyone was very warm and outgoing and the professor was great," she said. "It gives you an edge on freshman year at college. You say, 'I kinda know what to expect.' It's not like -- 'wham!'"
She said she felt young in the class, but that the Dartmouth students were "open-minded, great people." She ended up with a "B-" in the course.
"It was what I expected a demanding college class to be," she said. "You have to do a lot of the work for yourself and you have to do a lot of reading."
Veno will attend the University of Vermont next fall. To enroll in the history class, she said she went to her high school guidance counselor and got permission from the class's professor, the chair of Dartmouth's history department and the chair of her high school's history department.
Computer Science Professor Tom Cormen said he once had a female high school student take Computer Science 5 and that she fared better than many Dartmouth students do.
"If I had a class made up of nothing but that student," he said, "I wouldn't want to teach any other classes. She was great."
Not only did she get an "A," but she got one of the few academic citations Cormen gave out, he said.
He said she was successful because she was "very bright, very motivated" and also did not have to deal with some of the additional pressures of college.
Earth Science Professor Charles Drake said he enjoys the presence of the numerous high-school students in his classes.
"They're good," he said. "They do better than a lot of undergraduates. They pay more attention, ... they work hard and they do well."
He said high school students take the classes out of genuine interest, while Dartmouth students might take them only for distributive credit.
Special community students can only take a class if there is room after the undergraduates are enrolled. Once special community students get 18 credits -- from Dartmouth or other credits which the College accepts -- and fulfill the language requirement, they can apply to matriculate. If their application is accepted they become like any other Dartmouth student.
Karen Khan, a data control specialist in the controller's office, is currently taking Film Studies 21 and has taken classes at Dartmouth the last two and a half years.
"I want to get a degree from Dartmouth because I can take classes for free," she said. She said she plans to matriculate Fall or Winter term.
"I think it's one of the best opportunities at Dartmouth," she said. "A lot of people can't afford to go to school and it's a good opportunity for us to go to a good school."
She said she finds work at Dartmouth "very hard and very frustrating."
"Dartmouth courses are really hard," she said. "Each class is like taking two classes."
Savage said she thinks it is easier for her to interact with professors because she deals with them in an administrative role as well.
"I tend to see them as people, where students see them as gods, so it's easier to talk to them," she said. She also said she can better understand students' complaints about administrators because she has been in both roles.