Success starts at Durham College

The Centre for Success at Durham College (DC) provides additional support for high school students to help ensure they receive their credits while simultaneously offering unique college-based opportunities.

Centre for Success students are high school students who study at DC Monday to Thursday and earn college credits while finishing their high school diplomas. Students are admitted into the program on recommendation from their high school guidance counsellors and apply to college after they complete their diploma.

Amanda Moore, a student in the program, will be attending DC this September to study in the Paralegal program. Her goal is to succeed in the program and one day become a lawyer, but at first she didn’t think it could happen.

“Coming to DC through the Centre for Success was really eye-opening,” Moore said. “I never considered going to college until I came here to study high school courses.”

According to Gail MacKenzie, manager of strategic initiatives for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies & Employment, the Centre for Success is like a school within a school.

“We take 150 students per semester, and they come to DC every day as if it was their high school,” MacKenzie said.

The atmosphere and responsibility of going to college is one aspect which MacKenzie thinks helps students who are at risk of not graduating from high school to find motivation.

“We show them they can be successful in college, and it’s a real boost to their confidence and self-esteem,” MacKenzie said. “They’re treated like adults so they act like adults, and it’s a valuable experience.”

This sentiment is something Moore agrees with, she stressed that independence and understanding were key factors to her success at DC.

“The environment helps a lot,” said Moore. “You get used to the campus and the teachers. They know when to push you and when to leave you alone, and it gives you the experience to know what you’re getting into when coming to college.”

DC offers 10 different credits at both campuses including trades, general education, and business courses that double as college and high school credits. This helps students recover up to three credits that may have prevented them from graduating.

“It’s a really good program,” Moore said.

The Centre for Success is only one piece of DC’s School-College-Work Initiative. According to MacKenzie there are approximately 1,800 students getting dual credits at DC that come from all over the Region of Durham.