Seniors Aaliyah Shakoor from Eastside High School, Amber Davis from Heritage High School and Kiara Rouda from Eastside High School are all attending Georgia Perimeter College full time this year as part of the Dual Enrollment program. They are all in their second year of being in the program. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
COVINGTON -- More area high school students are becoming full-time college students at Newton County's Georgia Perimeter campus than at any of the college's other locations.
This semester, 45 students are enrolled in the college's Move On When Ready program at the Newton Campus. The program requires students to be enrolled at the college full time, taking at least 12 credit hours.
A total of 74 students are enrolled at the college's other campuses in Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur and Dunwoody, as well as online, in the MOWR program.
At the Newton Campus, 134 students are enrolled in the college's Dual Enrollment program either part time, taking both high school and college classes, or full time. College-wide, 937 students are in the Dual Enrollment program.
Jeff Meadors, college-wide Dual Enrollment coordinator for GPC, said that the college has seen an increase of 16 percent in Dual Enrollment and 18 percent in the MOWR program.
"I am proud that we are up ... given current enrollment trends across the state," he said. "We are going against the grain, and it is a testament to parent involvement, as parents are advocating on behalf of students and learning more about student options."
This semester, 45 students from Rockdale County Public Schools and 22 from the Newton County School System are taking Dual Enrollment classes at the Newton Campus.
In RCPS, 25 students are from Heritage High School, 11 from Salem High School and nine from Rockdale County High School.
Heritage senior Amber Davis is a full-time GPC student this year and after she graduates from high school, she will have one more semester of three classes to finish in the fall to obtain her associate's degree in business administration.
"I was ready to move on to college," she said. "It's a great opportunity to get my college paid for and advance myself."
She said even though she is taking fewer classes, it feels like twice the workload compared to high school classes.
In NCSS, 15 students are from Eastside High School, five from Alcovy High School and two from Newton High School.
Last year, Eastside High School seniors Aaliyah Shakoor and Kiara Rouda took classes at both Eastside and GPC, and this year they are both taking classes only at GPC.
"It allows you a lot more freedom to choose your classes and work at a pace you want to work at," Shakoor said.
She said chemistry has been her most difficult class.
"I've always taken Quest and honors classes, but here, you don't have a teacher to fall back on. It falls back on me," she said, adding that she has to use the free tutor available at the college from time to time to keep up with the rigorous coursework.
Rouda said taking classes in a Dual Enrollment program is a good transition from high school to college.
"It's really beneficial and helps you really get ready for college," she said. "Teachers don't baby you. If you need help, you have to go ask for help."
GPC's Newton Campus also serves students in Morgan County, Jasper County, Social Circle City, Walton County, Putnam County, Butts County and Henry County public school systems, as well as private and home school programs.
Students can participate in dual enrollment through the ACCEL program -- which is funded through the Georgia Student Finance Commission and allows students to be enrolled part time or full time at GPC and pays only tuition and no longer pays for books or fees -- or the MOWR program, which requires students to be enrolled in classes full time at a post-secondary institution without taking classes at their high schools and pays for tuition and fees.
High school juniors and seniors with at least a 3.0 grade-point average and an SAT score of 970, including at least a 440 in math and 480 in verbal, or an ACT score of 20, including at least an 18 in math and 20 in English, are eligible to participate in the program.
Students qualified to be in the program must complete an application to GPC and submit an official high school transcript, a current certificate of immunization and a parental consent form.
More information is available by visiting www.gpc.edu/dualenrollment or calling 770-278-1270 at the Newton Campus.