STEPS/STAIRS

STEPS (Senior Technical Education Program at SOWELA)

STEPS is a program designed for high school seniors to begin college while still in high school and is tailored for students who intend to enroll in an associate degree, technical diploma, or certificate program after high school graduation. STEPS seniors spend most of their days on the SOWELA main campus in Lake Charles attending face-to-face dual enrollment courses in the fall of their senior year and face-to-face college courses in the spring. High school seniors in the STEPS program are still registered students at their home high schools and participate in clubs, athletics, proms, and graduation ceremonies.

The STEPS program provides high school seniors a head start on college. Students in the STEPS program experience the college environment while completing their high school diploma and earning college credits. Students from participating high schools and BESE approved home school programs may enroll in STEPS under the direction of the STEPS coordinator and their high school counselors. STEPS students are required to attend a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of coursework on the SOWELA campus in Lake Charles.

STAIRS (SOWELA's Transfer Academy Increasing Readiness for Seniors)

The STAIRS program benefits high school seniors who want to begin college courses while in high school and who intend to enroll in a four-year degree program after high school graduation. Students enter STAIRS to complete General Education courses to meet admissions and prerequisite requirements for their future four-year institution. Courses to satisfy freshman and sophomore curriculum requirements at the future four-year institution may also be available depending on scheduling availability, student entrance eligibility, and the four-year institution's willingness to accept transfer credit. The majority of the STAIRS' student's day is spent attending face-to-face courses at the SOWELA main campus in Lake Charles. STAIRS students are also registered with their home high schools and enjoy all the benefits of their senior year, including club activities, athletics, proms, and graduation ceremonies.

All dual enrollment, STEPS, and STAIRS participants are expected to adhere to all college, course, and instructor requirements.

Step 1: Complete a SOWELA online visiting student admissions application (opens new window).

Special Notes for Completing the Online Admissions Application:

  • Click "Sign Up" (under "Don't have an account yet?") using a unique email address. Fill out the personal information and account email/username and password boxes. Please do not use high school-issued email addresses to avoid verification issues.
  • Once your email address is verified, please sign into your admissions application account and select the appropriate upcoming term. Hit Apply Now to begin the online admissions application.
  • Please be sure to select "currently enrolled in high school" and "yes" to “Will you still be in high school when starting classes?” to be coded as a high school Dual Enrollment eligible student.
  • All dual enrollment students must select Non-Degree as their upcoming Major. Please choose the campus you will be attending. If you will be attending online courses only or courses taught on your high school campus, please select Main Campus.

Step 2: Complete the STEPS/STAIRS Course Request Form

  • Complete the STEPS/STAIRS Course Request Form every term you wish to be enrolled. While a student only needs to apply for enrollment online once, students must submit a STEPS/STAIRS Course Request Form for each term/semester of enrollment.
  • Student and Parent/Custodian/Guardian Instructions: Complete Section I with a parent/custodian/guardian. After filling out student information, student and parent/custodian/guardian must print, sign, and date at the end of Section I.
  • High School Principal or Counselor instructions: Complete Section II of the STEPS/STAIRS Course Request Form. List courses needed by the high school student to complete graduation requirements. Your signature verifies that the courses listed will be applied to/fulfill the student's graduation requirements and authorizes SOWELA to enroll the student in the listed courses.
  • Please scan and email the STEPS/STAIRS Course Request Form, high school transcript, and ACT/ACCUPLACER Next Generation scores as a PDF document to dualenrollment@sowela.edu.

General Admission and Participation Requirements

  • All students must be enrolled as a senior at a participating (as evidenced by a current CEA) public or private high school within one of the parishes/districts (must have a STEPS agreement with SOWELA) served by SOWELA or a BESE-approved home study program. Homeschool students must submit a valid BESE Home Study Approval letter.
  • Graduating seniors must be pursuing a school-approved diploma (Career, LA Core 4, or Basic Core).
  • High school seniors must be at least 17 years old, and no more than 18 years old, by September 30th of their senior year.
  • Students must have permission from a designee from their high school and their parent/ guardian to participate in Dual Enrollment. Parents may act as the designee for BESE-approved home study programs.
  • Students must submit a high school transcript with a calculated GPA based on a 4.00 grading system. To enroll in the STEPS program students must have a 2.5 GPA.
  • Students must be enrolled in college courses for which dual credit (both college and high school credit) is attempted and recorded on both the student's secondary and postsecondary academic records.
  • Students enrolled in courses with school board credentialed instructors that meet at any SOWELA instructional site must also satisfy the following requirements:
    • Students must have no more than three disciplinary actions during their last school year noted in their high school records.
    • Students must have no more than ten (10) unexcused absences during their last school year noted in their high school records.
  • Upon admission, STEPS students must have a maximum of four core courses remaining to meet high school graduation requirements.
  • All STEPS students have a registrar's hold placed on their student accounts to prevent unauthorized registration schedule changes or withdrawals. All requests for registration and/or schedule changes must be submitted to the Dual Enrollment Coordinator for processing by the Registrar's Office. Additionally, course withdrawals require permission from the student's home high school and the College.
  • Students participating in STEPS must enroll in a minimum of twelve (12) semester credit hours of courses in each of the fall and spring semesters. Students may carry a maximum course load of 15 credit hours each semester. Each semester a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of coursework must be taken at the SOWELA main campus in Lake Charles.
  • All STEPS students must complete all core requirements needed for high school graduation prior to the spring semester of their senior year, unless the core requirement is being fulfilled at the parish/district school or a BESE-approved home study program.
  • To remain a participant in the STEPS program, students must earn a grade of “C” or better in all courses taken for college credit.

Additional Requirements for the Technical Courses

  • Students must meet all eligibility requirements that may be imposed by their home school district including, but not limited to, minimum scores on the ASPIRE, Pre-ACT, ACT, or WorkKeys Tests. Only ACT and Next Generation ACCUPLACER scores can be used to satisfy prerequisite/test score requirements for course entry.
  • Students must meet course-specific prerequisites including, but not limited to, appropriate scores on either the ACT or Next-Generation ACCUPLACER exam.
  • SOWELA follows ACT recommendations that the ASPIRE and Pre-ACT scores do not replace the ACT. If a student has taken the ACT, the ACT score must be used as the placement measure.

Additional Requirements for General Education and Other Courses on the Board of Regents Matrix

  • Students must have and maintain a high school grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.00 system.
  • Students must have an ACT composite score of at least 19.
  • SOWELA has moved to a corequisite model of instruction for developmental coursework. According to the Louisiana Board of Regents, a senior high school student may need developmental coursework in one content area only (English or Math). If one of the corequisite model courses is needed by a senior dual enrollment student, the course must be successfully completed with a “C” or better prior to the spring semester of that student's senior year. Students may not take both a corequisite MATH and a corequisite English in the same semester. The following guidelines are used to determine possible placement.
    • To enroll in MATH 1100 College Algebra, students must have an ACT Math subscore of at least 20.
    • To enroll in MATH 1000 Algebra for College Students, students must have an ACT Math subscore of at least 19.
    • To enroll in MATH 1106 College Algebra (6 credit hour format) or MATH 1006 Algebra for College Students (6 credit hour format), students must have an ACT Math subscore of at least 17.
    • To enroll in ENGL 1010 English Composition 1, students must have an ACT English subscore of at least 18.
    • To enroll in ENGL 1014 English Composition 1 (4 credit hour format), students must have an ACT English subscore of at least 17.
  • Students must meet course-specific prerequisites including, but not limited to, appropriate scores on either the ACT or Next-Generation ACCUPLACER exam.

High school students enrolled in courses taught by SOWELA instructors are assessed tuition and fees for at full price. As an example, a student enrolled in a 3-credit hour face-to-face course taught by a SOWELA instructor can expect to be assessed $566.88. A complete tuition and fee chart can be found on our Student Accounts page.

For certain courses, other fees may be applicable such as lab fees, online registration fee, online access codes, and textbooks or other materials.

Billing practices vary from school district to school district. Please always contact your child's school district for accurate information on parent/student financial responsibility.

Contact Information

General

Dual Enrollment Office

SOWELA Technical Community College

3820 Sen J. Bennett Johnston Ave

Magnolia Building, Building #13

Lake Charles, LA 70615

dualenrollment@sowela.edu

Jeremy Ryder, Registrar Services Coordinator - Dual Enrollment

Room 125, Magnolia Building

337-421-6983

jeremy.ryder@sowela.edu

Anna Sunderbruch, Dual Enrollment Specialist

Room 127, Magnolia Building

337-421-6581

annamarie.sunderbruch@sowela.edu

CPSB STEPS

Sabra Soileau, CPSB College Program Coordinator

337-421-6597

sabra.soileau@cpsb.org

3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565
(800) 256-0483
info@sowela.edu

Mon-Thu: 7:45 AM to 4:15 PM
Friday: 7:45 AM to 12:00 PM
(337) 421-6550

SOWELA Technical Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, or age in its programs and activities. The following person(s) have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies:

Title IX Officer

Candy Parker

candy.parker@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6510 or (800) 256-0483

3820 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

ADA Officer

Maegan Lewis

maegan.lewis@sowela.edu

(337) 421-6952 or (800) 256-0483

3850 Sen. J. Bennett Johnston Ave. Lake Charles, LA 70615

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