Dual credit student gets half an associate degree completed before high school graduation

Carter Chase is No. 7 of nine kids. He was home schooled growing up, but when he graduated high school in May 2013, he was halfway finished with an associate degree.

Carter took 31 dual credits at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, general courses that transferred to a four-year institution. But he first learned of Ivy Tech because two of his older sisters graduated with an associate degree from the Nursing program.

When Carter walked into the chemistry lab in the Student Life Center, he said, "I'm home," and he reached for the wooden molecule puzzle. Though he's currently working toward his bachelor's degree, he misses taking classes at Ivy Tech.

When Carter walked into the chemistry lab in the Student Life Center, he said, “I’m home,” and he reached for the wooden molecule puzzle. Though he’s currently working toward his bachelor’s degree, he misses taking classes at Ivy Tech.

The best thing about taking classes at Ivy Tech, he said, were the teachers. As a kid who was home schooled, he heard all sorts of horror stories about the classroom: You have to get on a teacher’s good side, teachers are always looking for ways to fail students.

“I remember walking into my first class. I never had a classroom experience. I was terrified. I was shaking,” said Carter, of Auburn. “And it surprised me because all those things they told me were wrong.

“The thing that surprised me most (is that at Ivy Tech) the professors genuinely wanted us to succeed. It was very fair.”

Though he was just a year away from getting an associate degree, Carter chose to transfer to IPFW because he wants to be a doctor. He’s getting a degree in computer science–in case he changes his mind, he’ll have something to fall back on–and is pre-med.

If it wasn’t for his desire to be a doctor, Carter said, he would have completed his associate degree at Ivy Tech.

The full Chase family. That's Carter in the back row, third from the right.

The full Chase family. That’s Carter in the back row, third from the right.

“(Ivy Tech is so) hands-on. The companies nowadays don’t so much care that I graduated from an institution with this degree. They care about certifications. Those certifications are what get you jobs. I’d be here, quite honestly, if med school wasn’t my end goal.”

His dad, a doctor, tried to talk Carter out of following in his footsteps. With nine kids, Carter’s dad takes each one to breakfast one-on-one once a month, and for four or five months straight, Carter said, he got to listen to horror stories about why he shouldn’t want to be a doctor.

“He was giving me the down and dirty,” Carter said, but when his dad realized Carter wasn’t going to change his mind, “he’s been my biggest cheerleader since then.”

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