Triplets Megan, Morgan, and Michelle Simmons are on their way to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) this fall, making their parents proud. But these 17 year-olds aren’t starting as freshman – thanks to the Early College program at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy and Daley College, they’ve already earned their associate degrees for free while still in high school. They will be starting this fall as juniors – far ahead of many of their peers.
While they didn’t have to all choose the same high school, Goode and the Early College program appealed to each of them for similar reasons – challenging academics, earning college credits for free, and getting a taste of college life. They also each chose Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, following in their mom’s footsteps – intentionally or not – by attending her alma mater. With a lot of hard work, focus, and determination they have each earned an associate degree a month before they will earn their high school diploma in the spring of 2020– but it wasn’t easy.
In addition to their classes at both Goode and Daley, Megan, Morgan, and Michelle were all actively involved in extracurriculars like athletics, Science Olympiad, Tech Club, and National Honors Society. Additionally, they were each part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Daley College. They each emphasized the amount of focus they needed to keep their grades up, stay involved in campus life, and still just be high schoolers. But each young woman would recommend the experience to anyone interested, expressing that if nothing else, it’s worth a try.
“Even if you don’t earn an associate degree, you are earning college credit that will transfer to a university. Every class you take is money you are saving in the future,” said Megan.
They also offer some advice for students who choose to be part of the Early College program. Michelle advises to “always be on top of the work, no one is going to remind you what you need to do.” And Morgan suggests that “if you do it, give it your all and stay committed.”
And while they will all earn an Associate in Computer Science, they are choosing different paths once they get to SIUE. Morgan is interested in mechanical engineering and business, Michelle is sticking with computer science and wants to carve out a career in cybersecurity, and Megan is taking a slightly different route by pursuing a career as a physical therapist.
Michelle, Morgan, and Megan are excellent examples of what students who are focused and determined can do – and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold.