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2023 - Doubling Down: Dual-credit student accelerates her dreams

Tags: Academics | Student Profile
Published 12/04/2023
ECC dual credit student Fatima Ahmed

ECC dual credit student Fatima Ahmed

Fatima Ahmed looks like a typical college student. She sits in the Renner Academic Library studying for her abnormal psychology and microbiology classes. She leads a student club. And, she’s focused on her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon or neuroscientist. But Ahmed is still in high school.

The Carpentersville senior has big dreams and began taking AP and honors courses her freshman year. By her junior year, she was ready for the next step. She enrolled in Elgin Community College's Dual Credit Program to simultaneously earn college credit while fulfilling her high school requirements.

“I knew I was ready for the challenge,” she said. “I was nervous about how older students would react to having a 16-year-old in class with them, but I love the freedom dual credit has given me,” she said. “There are more classes to choose from, and I can tailor my education to my interests.” Thanks to dual credit’s accelerated learning format, she’ll graduate from ECC with her Associate in Science on the same day she graduates from Dundee-Crown High School in May 2024.

To create deeper connections on campus, Ahmed started the Dual Credit Connections Club. “I remembered that desire to fit in as a new dual-credit student,” said Ahmed. “I created the club to help ease the transition for others. The best lesson I learned is that finding your crowd makes things easier.”

ECC's Dual Credit Program continues to grow and provide students with increased opportunities. “Dual credit means getting a head start regardless of your post-high school plans,” said Sean Jensen, assistant dean of college in high school programs. Dual-credit students graduate and transfer to schools locally and nationally.

In addition to the academic challenge she sought, Ahmed also understands the financial and long-term benefits. “Knowing I’ll be able to pursue my bachelor’s degree starting next year helps so much because that’s money and time that I am saving,” said Ahmed. “Academics aside, I learned so much through the dual-credit process, even with a little under a year left to go. The way I’ve grown as a student and individual, I am really grateful to be a part of dual credit.”


Read the entire fall 2023 issue of Impact magazine online here.