Ryan Buswell was only 18 years old when he received his associate degree from OCC in Humanities and Social Sciences. He did it less than a year after graduating from Cicero-North Syracuse High School in 2013. What was his secret? Onondaga’s College Credit Now program which allows students to earn college credits while they are in high school. In the 2013-14 academic year 3,422 students from 30 Central New York high schools took advantage of the program.
Buswell started collecting college credits during his sophomore year at C-NS. Three years later he had amassed 17 OCC credits and 20 AP (Advanced Placement) credits. Buswell considered going directly to a four-year SUNY college, then did the math. “I realized I could spend less money on the same courses by going to OCC. It made more sense to spend $2,000 rather than $17,000,” Buswell said.
Buswell brought his 37 credits to OCC, spent two semesters on campus, and graduated in May 2014. “Saying I graduated from college less than a year after I graduated from high school is both humbling and makes me feel very proud about what I’ve accomplished.”
In the fall Buswell started taking classes at SUNY New Paltz as a junior. He’s majoring in Speech Pathology, a calling he realized in high school. “I took a ‘what should you be when you get older’ quiz online and it pointed me in this direction. I started researching it, then went on a church mission to Buffalo where I worked with children with disabilities. I realized it was what I wanted to do.”