Polk State student to graduate with high school diploma and bachelor’s degree

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Carolyn Bazley will be celebrating two significant milestones at once as she graduates from Polk State College with both her high school diploma and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management.

Through Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School, Bazley was able to complete the credits and requirements for both her diploma and degree throughout her junior and senior years.

“It feels surreal,” Bazley said of her accomplishments. “When you hear of someone doing this it’s usually a child genius or something. I thought this would just be a great way to get my AA – I had no idea I would be able to get a bachelor’s degree.”

Polk State’s three collegiate high schools allow students to complete high school requirements while earning college credits. In most cases, students graduate with their Associate in Arts degrees at no cost to them.

In Bazley’s case, her guidance counselor noticed early on her ability to manage a heavy courseload and successfully complete her classes. Bazley’s guidance counselor encouraged her to take some classes in the summer so that she could complete a bachelor’s degree.

“The administration at Gateway is super helpful and I would recommend the collegiate program because it allows students to get as much college experience and real-world experience as possible,” Bazley said. “Now looking back, I would have started taking college classes even earlier than I did.

“Maybe then I could have had a summer off,” she laughed.

Bazley plans to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in technology through the University of Florida. She aspires to work in technology – possibly in cybersecurity “or even with the FBI, maybe.” She added that her degree in Supervision and Management provides her with a strong foundation and a competitive edge for future employment, as she would like to have her own tech business one day.

“To be able to get not only an AA, but a bachelor’s degree for free in high school is incredible,” Bazley said. “It has allowed me to get ahead and not have to worry about student loans. I’m really appreciative of the opportunity.”