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High School Graduate Ready for Future with 3 Rio Degrees

Cameron Cocalis

High School Graduate Ready for Future with 3 Rio Degrees

A story shared by his grandfather led Cameron Cocalis to Rio Salado's Dual Enrollment program and Cameron's hard work led to his completion of three college degrees, in addition to his high school diploma, last spring.

High school is the perfect time to explore new opportunities, find your passions and set yourself up for a successful future. For some students, setting themselves up for their future includes a college education after high school. Through the Rio Salado Dual Enrollment program, students have the unique opportunity to receive college credit in high school. Imagine being able to get your 2- year degree before you graduate high school! Dual Enrollment is the perfect tool to build a solid foundation for any student.

Cameron Cocalis was inspired by his grandfather's reaction to a local newspaper article about a girl that got her associate degree before she even got her diploma. Cameron and his parents understood the impact he could make on his life by seeking out dual enrollment courses, so they started their journey with Rio Salado. Who knew that would lead to Cameron getting three 2-year degrees: an associate of arts, an associate of general studies, and an associate of science!

For certain dual courses, it is required that students are placed in advanced classes to be able to get the college credit. “He took very specific steps during middle school to work his way into advanced courses so that he could be on track to enroll in the higher level math, science and, English dual enrollment classes,” Cindy Cocalis, Cameron’s mom said. Through advanced courses students are able to be better prepared for the college courses to come. Being on a more rigorous path in high school helped Cameron develop organizational skills and study habits that will help him conquer college

Applying for colleges and scholarships can be daunting as well, but with Rio’s jump start through dual enrollment credits students can enter college with confidence. Cameron says that “receiving the three degrees helped showcase my skills and dedication in my college application and helped me to get accepted into a highly selective school.” With Cameron’s experience in advanced courses and his three degrees, Cameron is beyond prepared for his fresh start in college. 

Cameron’s parents are grateful for the staff at Rio for all their amazing assistance during this process.  His mother appreciated the dual enrollment advisor’s patience and help as they worked their way through the process. All of the effort Cameron put in during the last four years is totally worth what he gained! Cameron and his parents suggest that future students take advantage of the opportunity to get dual credits and pave a successful path for your future.

“You already have to take the time in high school to take the classes, so you might as well start getting ahead in college,” Cameron said. 

His parents agree and advise that students who are interested start early. “The dual enrollment staff and counselors at Rio are great and will help kids and families make it happen, but it works out best if you get in the dual enrollment program early and meet with the Rio dual enrollment counselors often,” said Cindy, his mom.

Dual enrollment is an effective way to “knock out” some of the needed general credits when entering college. Rio is often much more affordable than other higher learning institutions; taking Dual Enrollment courses can relieve students (and parents) of some of the financial burden of college education. If you are interested in the Dual Enrollment program at Rio Salado, or wondering if it’s the right fit for you, reach out to us at 480-517-8080 or learn more here https://www.riosalado.edu/early-college/dual-enrollment!

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