Mandan High student has already earned a year’s worth of college credits | Bismarck State College

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Mandan High student has already earned a year’s worth of college credits

Posted: Jun 18 2021
Mandan High student has already earned a year’s worth of college credits
Thanks to Bismarck State College’s Fast Track program and a whole lot of drive and effort on her part, Alexandria Dirk has completed 33 college credits during her time at Mandan High School. Since she aspires to be a doctor, possibly an OB-GYN, this early start to her college career will help her reach that ambitious goal faster.
“I saw taking dual credit classes while in high school as a way to put myself ahead and challenge myself. I knew that with the career I plan on going into, I have a lot of schooling ahead of me, and I wanted to try my hardest to get some of that done before actually starting college.”
BSC's Fast Track program offers college courses to central North Dakota students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades in either a Dual Credit (both high school and college credit) format or an Early Entry (college credit only) format. The Fast Track program has many benefits for students. Dirk received both high school and college credit for the courses she took. She will likely shorten the length of her college career, thereby saving both time and money. And, she was able to experience the more rigorous expectations required for college courses meaning an easier transition when she enters college.
“My time at BSC has given me a glance at what a full-time college-level education will be like. I am glad that I had the opportunity to see the differences between the workload from high school to college. I feel more prepared for full-time university education, knowing what I am stepping into.”

Dirk was quite certain she wanted to pursue medicine from the start, but taking college courses while still in high school helped her gain more confidence in choosing that career path.
“I have known from the time that I started taking dual credit classes that I wanted to go into the medical field. But with every science class, especially my human anatomy class, my decision solidified, and I can't see myself switching to any other career path.”
Surprisingly, of all the dual credit classes she took, her favorite was not in the sciences.
“I enjoyed my history classes the most. I liked looking at how things started and how they have evolved to become even better, and there are so many intriguing aspects of history. Plus, with my days being STEM-heavy, they offered a little break between the complex worlds of science and math.”
Exposing kindergarten- through twelfth-grade students to various career paths as well as to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) education is one of BSC’s objectives as a polytechnic institution. This gives students like Dirk a jumpstart toward their careers. She is grateful for BSC’s Fast Track program and highly recommends it.
“The support I received from BSC's faculty made the slight changes from high school work to college-level classes a breeze. Even if you don't have the time to fit an entire year of college courses into your time in high school, every credit counts and puts you ahead. This is an opportunity that I am so glad that I took advantage of and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
She graduates from Mandan High School in May 2021 and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in health sciences at the University of Minnesota Rochester in the fall.
For more information on Fast Track at BSC, visit