Mikayla Stephens will earn her associate of science degree from LCCC at virtually the same time she graduates in the top 10 percent of her high school class.

Mikayla Stephens
Mikayla Stephens

“I will have my first college degree at the age of 18,” Stephens said. “I honestly can’t believe this is happening, and all of my hard work is finally paying off.”

The Midview High School senior plans to continue her education through LCCC’s University Partnership through Cleveland State University to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology with plans to become a certified behavioral analyst in the future.

“My high school allowed me to begin taking college courses as a high school student through CCP (College Credit Plus). By doing this, I was able to further my education and challenge myself in my studies,” Stephens said. “Because of this, I am graduating college before high school at 18 years old.”

Stephens said her goal in life is to stray away from the norm. “I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new every day,” she said. “I wanted to prove to those who told me I could not graduate high school with a college degree that they were wrong, that it could be done. With hard work and perseverance, I was able to achieve this goal and gain a head start on my college education.”

Stephens began taking LCCC courses as a sophomore through the College Credit Plus program which allows students to earn credit for high school and college at the same time through dual enrollment. By her senior year, she took all of her classes at LCCC’s main campus.

In the past, Stephens didn’t feel challenged enough, she said. “By taking college courses through the CCP program, I finally began to understand what it was like to feel challenged, to put in extra work in studying in order to succeed. I had to find new methods of studying and work ethic. By doing this, I became a more well-rounded individual and learned skills that I can use in my personal life.”