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Great Bend High School Student Utilizes Barton to Get a Jumpstart on College


By Maggie Harris


GREAT BEND, Kan. — Elle Hutchinson’s dream of being one of the youngest practicing lawyers in Kansas is one step closer to becoming a reality after completing her associate degree at Barton Community College as well as her high school diploma this past May.

As a junior at Great Bend High School (GBHS), she decided the best way to achieve her goal was to take advantage of the early college opportunities available at Barton. She enrolled in various Barton classes, including online, on-campus, and College Advantage classes taught by Barton faculty at GBHS.

“Because of my dedication to my education at Barton, I chose to cut back on a few of the high school activities I was involved in,” she said. “I don’t regret that decision for a second because my experience at the College was so much fun and helped prepare me for my future.”

Hutchinson credits her advisors with helping her choose the right classes to simplify the transfer process.

“I chose my major because of its transferability and flexibility,” she said. “My advisor helped me choose all my classes and make sure they would transfer with me. She made the transfer process so simple, and I got all my prerequisites out of the way.”

Being a high school student and a full-time college student wasn’t always easy, but with guidance from caring Barton faculty, she learned the value of time management and hard work.

“Barton is full of amazing teachers,” she said. “They all made it a point to get to know each of their students and make the classroom comfortable and inviting. Everyone was always willing to help with any questions I had about Barton, enrollment, and transferring.”

Hutchinson was thankful she had this opportunity in her backyard and was excited to hear that it has gotten even more accessible for high school students.

“High school is an important milestone, and you should take the time to enjoy it, but at the same time, you can get an early start on college by adding one or two classes during the year to see if you like it,” she said. “It’s even easier now with the new lower tuition rates and scholarship opportunities for students. I wish I had that when I was enrolled.”

In March, the Board of Trustees approved a new tuition and fees rate of $50 per credit hour for select high school audiences. Starting with the Fall 2023 semester, high school students enrolling in face-to-face classes on the Barton County campus, at their high school, or through a Partnered Online partnership qualify for the new rate. In addition to this rate change, Barton recently added a scholarship for Barton Online classes for Kansas high school students to bring the per credit hour cost down to $75.

Hutchinson is enrolled in her junior year at Fort Hays State University this fall. She is planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication.

“Barton has prepared me for the future in many ways,” she said. “Looking back, I would not trade my experience for anything. I learned important life lessons that only Barton’s experiences could bring me.”

For more information or to enroll, visit Early College Opportunities or contact Karly Little at [email protected] or (620) 792-9294.