Bailey Hartman, a homeschooler from Hickory, North Carolina, simultaneously earned her high school diploma and Associates in Arts degree along with a Certified Nursing Assistant license from Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC).
Bailey made the most of her homeschool experience by taking advantage of CVCC’s Career and College Promise (CCP) program, which allows North Carolina high school students to attend college full-time for free while still in high school.
“I decided my freshman year that I wanted to try and get my associate degree, and I wanted to start full time when I was a junior because it’s free for high school students,” she told the Hickory Record. “I thought it was a great opportunity to get all those classes under my belt.”
The flexibility of the CCP program is well-suited to homeschooling families. In Bailey’s case, she worked 20-30 hours a week as a receptionist at Le Grande Salon and Day Spa in Hickory. Since she worked during the day, she took her classes at night, which most high school students wouldn’t be able to do. She also spent a lot of time at her parents’ business, Studio 321.
Bailey’s mother, Dawn, was worried at first that the college workload might be too much for her daughter, but it soon became apparent that Bailey was ready for the challenge. In fact, attending college as a high school junior was an easy adjustment for her.
Bailey’s success influenced some of her homeschool friends to consider taking a few classes through the program. “I had another friend and we took some classes together and she now looks back and wishes she’d taken as many classes as I did,” Bailey said.
While Bailey wasn’t the only homeschool student enrolled in the CCP program at the college, she was the only one she knew of who was working towards an associate degree. “Most of them were pretty surprised with how many classes I was taking,” she said. “My first semester I took 15 credits, and then the next semester, I took 18.”
Bailey took 20 credits in her last semester to finish, and she made straight A’s throughout her two years at CVCC. Bailey graduated from CVCC with 63 college credits. “CVCC was really a great school for me to start at because the professors were really invested,” Bailey told the Hickory Record. “There were just a lot of places I could find help if I needed it. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Bailey was homeschooled for her entire life, so learning in a more independent environment was something that she grew up doing along with her three older siblings. Unlike many teens, Bailey was also certain about what she wanted to do with her life – she wanted to be a nurse. Since June 16, 2017, Bailey has been working as a Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) at BAYADA Home Health Care in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Bailey plans on continuing her undergraduate education at Wake Technical College followed by Appalachian State University, culminating with a master’s degree in nursing at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill within the next four to five years.