Taking Kirkwood Classes

Liberty staff and students provide insight into taking Kirkwood classes.

Taking Kirkwood Classes

Kirkwood Community College is a public community college that many Liberty students take classes at during their junior or senior year.  Its main campus is located in Cedar Rapids, but there are other regional centers throughout Iowa. The difference between Kirkwood and other schools is that Kirkwood is one of the only universities in this area that offers classes to high schoolers as a way to earn college credit that can then be transferred to other schools and universities. These classes, also called “academies”, are a free, easy way to earn college credits before enrolling in college. 

Alexandra Hernandez, junior, is currently enrolled in Kirkwood classes and planning to take more her senior year.

“I think all students should take Kirkwood classes because it’s free college credit and it prepares you for college,” Hernandez explained. “Some more advantages are that you don’t have to pay for it, and it shows you how a college level course works and how the professors are.”

Counselor Troy Bergmann also shared why he thinks students should enroll in these classes.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to start college level coursework while still having some additional support that they may not have when they are on their own at college. Additionally, by taking an academy at Kirkwood have the opportunity to explore courses in the career field and gauge whether or not it’s the right fit which can save both time and money after high school,” said Bergmann.

It’s a great opportunity for students to start college level coursework while still having some additional support that they may not have when they are on their own at college.

— Troy Bergmann

Business and finance teacher Zach Hammes also commented on how hese classes are there to help prepare students for college and taking college courses.

“I think students who take Kirkwood classes gain great experience in college style courses. Students also need to understand that college can be a big financial investment, so to have the opportunity to earn college credit in high school at no cost to them should be a no brainer,” said Hammes.

Hammes then said, ”I think the advantages are multiple.  I believe a lot in the content we offer and think students walk out better prepared for their life journey. Students also have a chance to complete credits that will be required at some point if they continue on into higher education. The financial advantages are again unbelievable, at Kirkwood 3 credit hours (one class) will cost you around $540. At Iowa this cost increases to $1200.  Here at Liberty, or at the Kirkwood regional center, the ICCSD will subsidize these costs and they become free college credits to the student.  There is no better sell than the financial advantage of free college.”

As well as the many advantages, there are also disadvantages to taking these classes.

“The classes are harder, and they have more strict deadlines. It’s also hard having to do the classes over zoom where it is easy to get distracted,” said Hernandez.

College classes are harder than high school ones, but that doesn’t mean students should not try them out. Hammes and Bergmann shared advice to students who are afraid to enroll in Kirkwood classes.

“Most college level courses require more work and preparation outside of class. If students are doing well during their asynchronous time this year, then that’s a pretty good indication that they have the drive and motivation to be successful in college level coursework. If asynchronous time has been a struggle, just know that working outside of classes is a reality in college coursework so that behavior will have to change,” said Bergamnn. “Again, it also allows you to explore a major to see if it’s something that truly interests you, that way when you leave Liberty you can hopefully be closer to your chosen major and perhaps not need to change once in college. Obviously, cost is a great benefit as well. This allows students to take college classes and earn college credit and not have to pay for it. You can think of every Kirkwood class taken as a $500 scholarship.”

“For students who may be scared to try the college thing in high school I would encourage them to go for it. In life you don’t know what you are capable of unless you try. Give it a try, and if it’s not for them, they can withdraw from the course with no real academic penalty, so long as they do so in a timely manner,” explained Hammes.

Bergman provided more information for students interested in enrolling for the 21-22 school year.

“There [was] a webinar Thursday, January 28 (information has been emailed), and that webinar will be recorded and sent out as well. My suggestion would be to first attend/watch that webinar and if they still have questions to contact their counselor and/or schedule an appointment.”

Kirkwood is a great college with resources to help any and all students interested. These classes might seem like a challenge at first but with help along the way, this could be a first look into college life.

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