The Bridge Year Program: the pre-college experience at THHS

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By Maimunah Virk and Jacqueline Woo, staff writers

With the school year coming to a close, the class of 2019 recently selected their Queens College electives, one of the many benefits from the collaboration between Townsend Harris and Queens College. The Bridge Year Program allows THHS seniors to have an easier transition from high school to college by taking courses as non-matriculated students at Queens College. Students can earn up to six college credits per semester, graduating with up to 12 college credits.

Seniors are required to take one elective at Queens College per semester. Students attend an orientation in their junior year where they receive information regarding fall semester electives, which included a list of suggested courses for students based on the classes they have taken in high school. Students select six classes in order of most to least preferred. Additionally, students answer questions regarding their schedule, such as whether they are involved in clubs or teams because there are afterschool and weekend classes.

“We offer any freshman class that has no prerequisites. They are normally 101 or introduction classes,” stated Joseph Merino, Assistant Director of the Queens College Preparatory Programs. “The popularity of classes varies between each year. One year no one wanted to take Philosophy of Logic, but now there are so many people who are interested in it,” he divulged. Some of the most popular classes include Anthropology 104, Calculus and Business Ethics, Math 141, and Psychology 101.

Senior Jiaxin Ying selected Animation, Ballet, Introduction to Music, and Philosophy 101 as her elective choices because she “was interested in these subjects,” and in her opinion “they were relatively easy.” Senior Victoria Harris chose the Political Science 104 elective because of the class size and because she knew people who were also choosing this elective. Both Jiaxin and Victoria were placed in classes they applied for.

In other cases, students’ schedules do not allow them to take any of the classes they asked for in their applications. Senior Jasmyne Jean-Remy was placed into Anthropology 104, which was not a class she originally requested. All of the electives she initially chose were not compatible with her Townsend Harris and extracurricular schedule.

What I had to do was then choose from a finite list of classes that were still open and fit in with my scheduleit wasn’t a lotand I didn’t want to take any of them, but I still had to choose,” Jasmyne disclosed. However, Jasmyne explained that she “took it as an opportunity to learn new things.”

Students every semester say they got a class they didn’t ask for, but we never place students into random classes. They are never placed in a class they didn’t ask for,” affirmed Mr. Merino. “Students often forget the later choices they make, [which are] classes they don’t really want, but they end up getting them if their schedule conflicts,” he explained.

Seniors are required to attend the elective they were assigned to, regardless of whether they want the class or not. Although senior, Nivedita Attada did not get one of her top choices. She accepted her situation and proclaimed, “I didn’t really care after a while because I was still getting credit that I could transfer over to other colleges.”