HOPE – Hope High School senior student Shelby Smith likes a challenge; after all, she intends to become a neurosurgeon. She will graduate from HHS in May with a roaring start, including more than a year of college credit.
Smith, the daughter of Steve and Jennifer Randall of Hope, anticipates graduating with 38 hours of college concurrent credit from the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, the highest number of college hours amassed among HHS concurrent credit students this year. But, the surprising aspect of Shelby’s accomplishment is that she started in the spring semester of her junior year at HHS.
“I like a challenge,” Smith quipped. “I had most of my high school credits out of the way; so, I decided to go ahead and get some college.”
Smith’s college studies at UAHT include standard course work in English composition and American history; but, also two courses in the Certified Nursing Assistance program, as well as courses in philosophy, art appreciation, first responder training, and aviation mechanics.
Why aviation mechanics?
“I wanted to try it and see what it was like,” she said.
A member of the National Honor Society at HHS, Smith has attended the National Academy of Future Physicians in Washington, D.C.
She learned about the concurrent credit program at UAHT through UAHT Career Coach/Concurrent Credit Facilitator Brittany Holleman.
“We went on a tour at SAU Tech, and I encountered her there,” Holleman said.
She said Smith is among the best organized, hardest-working students she has known, who tackles essentially anything.
“When you assign her something, she will do it,” Holleman said.
Smith is quick to point out that other HHS students have done well in the concurrent credit program at UAHT.
“There are some others with 20 or so credits,” she noted.
Any HHS student may apply for concurrent studies admission, but must maintain a 2.75 overall GPA in all HHS classes in the subject area of concurrent enrollment, or a 3.00 GPA in all HHS work. Ninth grade students must be similarly eligible in courses taken the two previous school years, according to UAHT requirements.
Students must also score a 19 or higher on the American College Test Reading sub-test, or scores on Explore or Plan assessments projected to produce a 19 on the ACTR; or, equivalent scores on the SAT, Compass, or Asset test to enroll in general concurrent studies, except college algebra.
Both English and college algebra classes require a 19 or higher on the ACT English and Reading or ACT math sub-test; or comparable Compass test scores, according to UAHT requirements.
Smith doesn’t consider it particularly remarkable that she has acquired more than half the credit hours necessary for an associate degree in little more than a year. Smith believes that simply helps her toward her goal of completing an undergraduate degree at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, then studying medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
“I’m fascinated with the brain,” Smith said.