Mitchell Burch is graduating from Ivy Tech Community College today, a full two weeks before he graduates from Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School.

Burch is among the 113 area high school students who have completed enough dual-credit courses to earn a credential from Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus. Many of them, including Burch, earned a Statewide Transfer General Education Core or STGEC technical certificate. The program allows students to transfer a block of 30-credit hours between public universities and colleges.

Burch worked with a counselor at the beginning of his junior year to map out a schedule with classes that counted for both high school and college credit.

“They’re challenging courses, but you also have teachers that know you personally and students that help each other,” he said.

In addition, some general education math and English courses that would be only one semester in college were spread out over two semesters at Bloomfield.

High school teachers taught most of Burch’s dual-credit courses, but some, such as psychology and speech, were only offered online. Those courses were treated similar to a study hall period, with students allowed to work on their own except the two days each week when an Ivy Tech instructor came in.

Burch plans to study agribusiness at Murray State University in Kentucky. The Indiana General Assembly created the STGEC program in 2012 for transfers within the state. Burch said he’s not completely sure whether every college credit he earned in high school will transfer, but most will.

Cydney Burris, a senior at Eastern Greene High School, said all the credits she earned through the STGEC program will transfer to Indiana State University, where she plans to major in finance starting in the fall. She said the dual-credit courses were a little harder than her normal high school classes, but she’s happy to have gotten them out of the way.

“It gives me a little bit of a cushion, and it doesn’t make me feel as nervous because I’ve done a lot of it,” she said.

Burch is happy to enter college ahead of the game as well, and he encouraged other high school students to take advantage of the STGEC program.

“I’d say, if you definitely know what you want to do in college, go for it,” he said.

Contact Michael Reschke at 812-331-4370, or follow @MichaelReschke on Twitter.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.