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Dual Enrollment Provides Jump Start to College


Marissa Buttliere ’20 of Pittsfield, Mass., just finished her first year at college, but she’s already halfway into her sophomore year thanks to credits she earned as a high school student through the Dual Enrollment Program.

“It was a really good idea. I earned all these credits and got a jump on my college career,” said Buttliere.

In total, she earned nine dual enrollment credits as a junior and senior at Pittsfield High School. All qualified Berkshire County high school students may earn free MCLA credit through the program. The introductory college courses not only are transferable, they are free.

“Everything is covered by grants,” Buttliere said. “No dual enrollment student has to pay a dime for anything. This was super helpful.”

A sociology major with a double minor in social work and criminal justice, Buttliere opted to attend MCLA after her high school graduation.

“The dual enrollment definitely helped make my choice. MCLA is close to home and I didn’t want to go too far away because I wanted to have the option of going home if I needed to,” explained Buttliere, who opted to live on campus. “I wanted the experience of living on campus and having that college community-based experience.”

Through dual enrollment, she got to know a number of MCLA professors, and became familiar with the campus. “It just made sense for me to go to MCLA,” Buttliere said. “I already knew almost everything about the campus and the faculty.”

In addition, “I like the fact that it’s a smaller campus, and you don’t have to walk a mile to get to your class. Everything’s right there for you, and you know everyone. There’s a close community of people. Everyone gets along.”

Buttliere chose to major in social work because she enjoys working with children, and because she’s had some personal experiences with social workers.

“I’m adopted, so I’ve had social workers in and out of my life. I already knew about and liked what they do. I’ve seen the problems in Pittsfield and around our community, so I want to give back and be that person to help others,” she explained.

She enjoyed her first full year at MCLA.

“I loved it,” Buttliere said. “I built amazing friendships and met one of my best friends this year. The classes were great. Things have happened that I never would have imagined would happen, but I can honestly say I had an incredible year.”

Buttliere recommends the Dual Enrollment Program to other high school students. In addition to earning college credits at no cost, the experience provided her with some valuable insight into college life.

However, “People have to keep in mind that dual enrollment is work,” she said. “It includes college-level assignments and papers and hours of study. I would recommend it 100 percent, but just make sure you keep on top of your work and know what you have to do. As long as you do the work and enjoy the class, it will pay off.”

For more information about the Dual Enrollment Program, go to