Associate degrees

Albuquerque student graduated from high school with six associate degrees

Students all over New Mexico are preparing for high school graduation, but one student is leaving high school with more than just a diploma.

Michael Sands is first in his class and in the 99th percentile nationally on the ACT and SAT.

“I think Michael is just passionate about learning,” said Liz Sands, Michael’s mother.

This passion for learning drives Michael to quite an accomplishment.

“The school principal called him the ultimate student,” Liz said. “Over time we found he was getting more and more degrees and we’re really proud of him.”

In May it will graduated from APS’s College and Career High School with six associate degrees in liberal arts, integrative studies, math, chemistry, physics, and biology.

CNM’s on-campus dual credit school allows students to earn a two-year degree with their high school diploma.

“I started with a degree in biology and spoke to a college coach who said, ‘Hey, take five or six more classes and get a degree in chemistry,'” Michael said. I said, ‘Okay, let’s try. Why not?’ And they said, ‘You can take a Spanish course and get a liberal arts degree.’ »

Michael says he hasn’t always had a passion for school.

“For elementary school, I was honestly bored and never put in any effort and always got Fs on everything,” Michael said. “For college, I was like, ‘Let’s try and see what happens,’ and so I got A’s on everything.”

Liz says he couldn’t be more different now, with aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon.

“He’s been watching Youtube videos for years about medicine, so I think that’s going to help him,” Liz said. “I think that’s going to make it very complete.”

“The blueprint for becoming a neurosurgeon is four years of college and four years of medical school, and seven years of residency and maybe a few years of fellowship,” Michael said. “It’s a long road, but with CCHS, I was able to cut a few years off.”

With a world of opportunities ahead, Michael has some advice for other students.

“It’s a lot easier to learn when you love what you’re doing and it’s a lot easier to love school when you love what you’re learning,” Michael said.

This fall, Michael will attend UNM where he received the Presidential Scholarship. With his associate degrees, Michael will be able to graduate from UNM with his bachelor’s degree in just two years.