Damian Von Schoenborn is ahead of the game. During his junior year at Rock Bridge High School, Von Schoenborn completed the highest level of math classes available to him.
With a desire to further his education, he began taking college courses at MU.
MU’s Office of the Registrar said 25 high school students are enrolled in classes at MU. Fifteen of them take classes on campus like Von Schoenborn, and 10 students take them though the university’s distance learning program.
MU High, part of the program, offers gifted students or students interested in independent study a chance to take more challenging, university-level classes. These classes count toward their high school degree. If students are seniors and in the top 25 percent of their class, they can take entry-level courses to earn college credit.
The 25 high school students are enrolled in everything from physics and research in biology to creative writing and foreign languages. Most of them take entry-level classes, but some students test out of those and move to more advanced courses.
“Students are informed about opportunities to take college classes in our catalog,” said Lynn Moore, a member of the Rock Bridge High School guidance staff. “Usually the more gifted students ask us if that is an option for them.”
During the summer, Von Schoenborn, whose father teaches philosophy at MU, took a pre-calculus course at MU though an independent study program. This semester he is enrolled in Calculus 3 through MU High.
Like many students entering the college environment for the first time, Von Schoenborn said he notices differences between college and high school.
“The students do not talk or interact with each other at all,” he said of college, “and the professors definitely do not get to know you in the same way that high school teachers do.”
Von Schoenborn does have some security in his new world: Two of his Rock Bridge classmates also take Calculus 3 at MU.
One of them, Chris Lincoln, said he likes taking a class that engages him at a higher level. “The class work can be overwhelming,” Lincoln said, “but I like to challenge myself to get it done.”