Andrew Trinagel is a graduating senior at Half Hollow Hills High School...

Andrew Trinagel is a graduating senior at Half Hollow Hills High School East and recipient of an AP Capstone Diploma. He has volunteered as a rescue first responder for the Dix Hills Fire Department for up to 60 hours a month. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Increasingly, high school students are earning diplomas from the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, while also taking their regular courses and exams.

Local education officials said much of that reflects students' desire to gain an edge in college admissions. "With college admissions becoming more and more competitive each year, it gives students a leg up in the admissions process," said Dan Doherty, director of counseling in the North Shore school district. 

A few Long Island students shared their experiences.

Trinagel, 17, is a graduating senior and recipient of an AP Capstone Diploma. He plans to pursue premedical studies in the fall at Washington University in St. Louis, and his resume reflects that interest. For example, he has volunteered as a rescue first-responder for the Dix Hills Fire Department for up to 60 hours a month. 

For his required Capstone research project, Trinagel wrote a 20-page paper on the potential uses of certain proteins as indicators of heart disease. He credits his high school teachers for preparing him for the sort of demanding assignments he will face in college. 

"They make sure that you know what it is like to have a tough workload," Trinagel said. "It has taught me those valuable life lessons that you're not going to learn unless someone pushes you to the maximum of your capabilities."

Lockwood, 18, is a graduating senior at the school in Glen Head and candidate for an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Lockwood intends to major in classics studies at Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences in Ithaca, with an eye toward an eventual career in law.

Like many high achievers, Lockwood faced a heavy schedule of activities during her final year of high school: student government president, yearbook editor, mock-trial club president, drama club president and assistant director of middle school musicals.

She also wrote a 4,000-word research article on how movie producers alter works of literature in their productions to fit the tastes of viewers.

Lockwood said she really appreciated the way that teachers helped her and classmates manage their time and meet their challenging deadlines.

"If you start early, you'll never finish late," she said.

Connolly, 18, is a graduating senior and a candidate for a Baccalaureate Diploma. She plans on majoring in economics at the University of Georgia and praised school staffers who supported her interest in business and marketing.

On her first day of baccalaureate classes in 11th grade, Connolly said, she realized that some coursework she signed up for might be too time-consuming. In addition to being an advanced student, Connolly was a star volleyball player with a demanding schedule of games. 

With the help of an IB administrator, Connolly changed her course concentration to a two-year path in business. As a result, she developed an interest in marketing while researching the business strategies of media personality Kim Kardashian.

On the academic side, Connolly wrote a 3,500-word research essay revolving around the novel "Sense and Sensibility" by English author Jane Austen that critiqued women's roles in society. The book was Connolly's choice. 

"It's been awhile since I picked out a book of my own to read," she said. "That's what's really cool about IB, that you get to choose your own path with that kind of stuff." 

Increasingly, high school students are earning diplomas from the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, while also taking their regular courses and exams.

Local education officials said much of that reflects students' desire to gain an edge in college admissions. "With college admissions becoming more and more competitive each year, it gives students a leg up in the admissions process," said Dan Doherty, director of counseling in the North Shore school district. 

A few Long Island students shared their experiences.

Andrew Trinagel, Half Hollow Hills High School East

Trinagel, 17, is a graduating senior and recipient of an AP Capstone Diploma. He plans to pursue premedical studies in the fall at Washington University in St. Louis, and his resume reflects that interest. For example, he has volunteered as a rescue first-responder for the Dix Hills Fire Department for up to 60 hours a month. 

For his required Capstone research project, Trinagel wrote a 20-page paper on the potential uses of certain proteins as indicators of heart disease. He credits his high school teachers for preparing him for the sort of demanding assignments he will face in college. 

"They make sure that you know what it is like to have a tough workload," Trinagel said. "It has taught me those valuable life lessons that you're not going to learn unless someone pushes you to the maximum of your capabilities."

Samantha Lockwood, North Shore High School

Lockwood intends to major in classics studies at Cornell University's College...

Lockwood intends to major in classics studies at Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences.

Credit: Rick Kopstein

Lockwood, 18, is a graduating senior at the school in Glen Head and candidate for an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Lockwood intends to major in classics studies at Cornell University's College of Arts & Sciences in Ithaca, with an eye toward an eventual career in law.

Like many high achievers, Lockwood faced a heavy schedule of activities during her final year of high school: student government president, yearbook editor, mock-trial club president, drama club president and assistant director of middle school musicals.

She also wrote a 4,000-word research article on how movie producers alter works of literature in their productions to fit the tastes of viewers.

Lockwood said she really appreciated the way that teachers helped her and classmates manage their time and meet their challenging deadlines.

"If you start early, you'll never finish late," she said.

Karli Connolly, Hauppauge High School

Connolly is headed to the University of Georgia.

Connolly is headed to the University of Georgia. Credit: Rick Kopstein

Connolly, 18, is a graduating senior and a candidate for a Baccalaureate Diploma. She plans on majoring in economics at the University of Georgia and praised school staffers who supported her interest in business and marketing.

On her first day of baccalaureate classes in 11th grade, Connolly said, she realized that some coursework she signed up for might be too time-consuming. In addition to being an advanced student, Connolly was a star volleyball player with a demanding schedule of games. 

With the help of an IB administrator, Connolly changed her course concentration to a two-year path in business. As a result, she developed an interest in marketing while researching the business strategies of media personality Kim Kardashian.

On the academic side, Connolly wrote a 3,500-word research essay revolving around the novel "Sense and Sensibility" by English author Jane Austen that critiqued women's roles in society. The book was Connolly's choice. 

"It's been awhile since I picked out a book of my own to read," she said. "That's what's really cool about IB, that you get to choose your own path with that kind of stuff." 

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