Loyola offers college courses to high school seniors


History professor Justin Nystrom discusses the Loyola First Class program. The program lets admitted high school seniors gain college credit while still in high school. Photo credit: Ver Lumod

Ver Lumod

Loyola New Orleans has launched a new program that provides free college credit to high school seniors.

Called “Loyola First Class,” the program allows students from the New Orleans metropolitan area to take one hybrid course during the spring semester of their senior year. Upon completion, the participants will receive three college credits which will be used to apply for their undergraduate degree at Loyola.

“This is the perfect bridge with an eye toward the future,” admissions director Kate Massey said.

High school seniors who have been admitted to the school for the Fall 2020 semester are eligible to take part in the program.

“Students who take the course should feel more prepared and comfortable to tackle their freshman year with credit already under their belt,” Massey said.

Set to begin on Feb. 9 and last for the next 10 weeks, eligible students can take one of four undergraduate courses offered by Loyola faculty. These include classes about the history and culture of New Orleans as well as other topics in business management and the arts.

While the classes are offered online, Massey said that the students will be offered opportunities to meet their professors on campus.

“We chose to have students come to campus to meet the professors in person at the start of the course to get to know one another, learn about our course management system and tour our beautiful campus,” she said. “Professors are creating dynamic and interactive environments so students can learn valuable ways to participate in a college level course.”

History professor Justin Nystrom, who is set to take part in the program, said that the offered courses are suitable entry-level opportunities for the students to experience a true college-level course.

Nystrom, whose expertise is on the history and culture of New Orleans, said he is excited to share his knowledge about the city.

“I want my future students to learn more about the history of their hometown,” he said. “They should be able to identify with their city and hopefully recognize a sense of connection in the process.”

Massey said that the Loyola First Class program provides the full experience for high school seniors in order to get used to college life, especially inside the classroom.

“This is by no means a ‘watered down’ course,” she said. “These are definitely college classes and we are preparing First Class students for the rigor if they haven’t taken college level classes.”

Massey expects the Loyola First Class program to be an ongoing endeavor for the school.

“We hope the program continues to grow and we are excited to provide a great experience to the students who are participating in this inaugural year,” she said.