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More high schoolers using dual enrollment to get ahead

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- If you haven't seen a few of your classmates lately, don't just assume they dropped out of school or are goofing off -- they might be getting a head start on their college education by participating in dual enrollment at Georgia Perimeter College in Covington.

In Newton County, 26 students at Alcovy, Eastside and Newton high schools are enrolled in dual enrollment classes at GPC; students from neighboring Jasper, Rockdale and Walton counties also are taking advantage of this program. In the area, GPC offers dual enrollment at its Newton Campus, a Rockdale satellite center at the Rockdale Career Academy and online.

"I wanted to get ahead," said Kristin Rabun, a junior at Jasper County High School. "It's a lot different (than high school) and I have a lot more freedom, but you have to be motivated."

Jeff Meadors, coordinator for dual enrollment at GPC, said registration for dual enrollment courses at GPC's Newton Campus is up 24.5 percent from fall enrollment with more than 100 students. Many of those students are enrolled in honors courses, and numbers are increasing for online classes as well, he said.

Although GPC began offering dual enrollment, once called joint enrollment, in 1968 when it was DeKalb College, enrollment has steadily increased over time, especially over the last several years. Meadors said GPC has the largest dual enrollment program in Georgia with 754 students and 3,556 credit hours served so far; GPC's Dunwoody campus has the highest number of students in the dual enrollment program with 525 students.

"I think it helps them transition better," said Julie Locicero, administrative secretary for Dual Enrollment and Honors Department at GPC's Newton Campus. "It's grown. The location we have now (in Newton) is an actual campus, and we're out in (the high school) a lot" telling students about the dual enrollment program.

Currently, dual enrollment students are taking classes full-time at GPC or part-time, splitting their class time between GPC and their home high school. Meadors said the majority are part-time students, taking two or three core classes each semester, which is recommended.

Beginning with the fall 2010 semester, GPC expects to participate in Move on When Ready, or House Bill 149, which is a form of dual enrollment that requires those students to be registered full-time in college courses and allows them to enroll in a wider variety of courses. GPC will continue to offer dual enrollment for part-time students, as well.

Meadors said the MOWR program should help grow GPC's dual enrollment program even more, especially when students will earn half a high school Carnegie unit for one- to two-semester hour courses and one high school Carnegie unit for three- to five-semester hour courses.

Students interested in both dual and regular enrollment classes at GPC's Newton Campus are invited with their parents to an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. March 25 on the campus, which is located at 239 Cedar Lane, off Ga. Highway 11, in Covington.

More information about dual enrollment and applying to GPC is available at www.gpc.edu/dualenrollment.