Student earns AS before high school diploma

Published on: May 19, 2008

LSC-Tomball Student Earns Associates Degree Before High School Diploma

Brian Pavlock is halfway through college and he hasn't even graduated from high school yet. In fact, he received his associate's degree from Lone Star College-Tomball this month, but he won't earn his high school diploma from Magnolia High School until June 3.

The MHS student took full advantage of the dual credit program offered by LSC-Tomball which allows high school students to earn both high school and college credit by completing college-level courses in subjects including math, English and history. The LSC-Tomball Associate of Science Degree he earned means he will enter Sam Houston State University as a junior.

Pavlock, who began taking courses in the dual credit program in 2006, said he happened upon it by accident.

"I was excelling in a lot of my classes in high school so I skipped a level in math and then they didn't have anymore math to offer me," he said. "The only option left for me was to take dual credit courses."

After he noticed that he could earn an associate's degree prior to his high school diploma, it became a quest for him, as he likes challenges.

"Not only did Brian take advanced calculus classes through the dual credit program, but he completed honors projects with both of them," said Pavlock's LSC-Tomball Professor and MHS math teacher Marisa May. "He is an ambitious student who is always open to new ideas and very aware of the opportunities available to him. He goes above and beyond in his coursework."

Mixing with other college students at LSC-Tomball wasn't intimidating for Pavlock, who graduated with a 3.71 GPA - it was actually the other way around.

"They knew I was young, but when they found out my situation they would be like ‘You are in high school?'" he said. "Some were in their 40's and just getting back to college and they would marvel at the opportunities available to students these days like dual credit, financial aid and distance education."

May said that she encourages her students to take advantage of the dual credit program because it not only gets them a head start academically, but it saves students time and money.

"Students can also get their ‘basics' out of the way and make their time at a university more enjoyable by focusing on their major or possibly completing an advanced degree," she said.

So, what's next for Pavlock who plans to major in computer science and minor in criminal justice while at SHSU?

"I have some contacts with the National Security Agency and I really like the idea of being involved with software security," he said. "The top secret clearance kind of has me sold. That, and the fact that I'd be helping with national security, of course."

Pavlock said his biggest hurdle in college won't be advanced computer courses or his commute to SHSU's campus in Huntsville.

"The challenge I've been facing is convincing people I belong there. The admissions office didn't know what to do with me at first because technically to be accepted you have to have a high school diploma, and since I don't have one yet, that really threw them for a loop. But once they took a look at how many college credit hours I had, they made some calls and got me in."

For more information on the LSC-Tomball Dual Credit program, high school students can consult with their high school counselor or call the LSC-Tomball Admissions Advisor at 281.351.3310.

Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 30555 Tomball Parkway in Tomball, Texas.

The Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including Cy-Fair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. With 49,250 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit www.lonestar.edu.