The Rise of Students Controlling Their Own Time

Sophia Paranzino, Editor-in-Chief

The opportunity to leave school early would certainly be one relished by many high school students. At Dulaney High School, students can do just that, with seniors having the ability to take a reduced schedule, only being in the school building for part of the day. With registration for next year having recently occurred, more juniors than ever have chosen to take a reduced schedule, reflecting the growing trend of students with early release over the past years.

School counselor John Komosa said, “it’s safe to say that about half the class is doing some sort of reduced schedule scenario with senior year, so it’s popular.”

The number of students choosing early release has been steadily increasing, largely due to desires by students to be in control of their own schedules.

Senior Karolina Akelaitis said, “I chose early release time because it gave me extra time to get volunteer and job experience, as opposed to filling my schedule with additional classes I wouldn’t have been very interested in.”

Students tend to use this free time for work, classes at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), internships and free time. While the opportunity to take fewer classes is very enticing to many students, it is important to recognize that the decision to take reduced credits can impact college prospects.

“[College] is a competitive venture, so if you’re not here in school you need to have a strong narrative about what it is you’re doing instead of being here,” said Komosa.

One way students productively use this additional time is through Dulaney’s vibrant internship program. At Dulaney, 50 seniors have external internships, leaving school early to go to various places and experience different careers. Students take these internships through the school as either one or two credits.

Internship advisor Jessica Carlson said, “[Internships] give students the real hands-on experience of being in the workplace. They learn all those employability skills that they may or may not pick up in school or in other jobs.”

While internships provide invaluable experience to students and allow for the exploration of different career paths, they are not accessible to the whole student population.

“Transportation is critical. You need to have transportation to be able to get somewhere farther than Pot Spring Elementary,” said Carlson.

This inequality is slightly remedied by the recent addition of internal internships. Students can intern at the Dulaney tech help desk, as well as in English 10 and Algebra classes. These internal opportunities give students interested in education or technology the valuable hands-on experience of an internship while remaining in the school.

Other ventures, like taking CCBC classes as an extension of courses offered at Dulaney and working in order to financially contribute to one’s family, are also seen as positive to competitive colleges. 

Komosa said, “However you are using that release time, use it in a positive and constructive way.”