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Top students in dual enrollment programs

CONYERS -- Nowadays, some high school students are not satisfied to just graduate high school -- some want to get a head start in college before they graduate.

Even with the extra workload of taking college classes in high school, some of those students end up at the top of their graduating classes.

Students have noted that they take the dual enrollment classes to prepare themselves better for college and have more freedom in choosing classes they are interested in taking.

In the past few years, most of the valedictorians and salutatorians graduating from Newton and Rockdale public schools are in the dual enrollment program at Georgia Perimeter College or Georgia Piedmont Technical College, both with locations in Newton County. Some of these students have participated in dual enrollment for two years."I think that you see many of them named Top 10, as well as valedictorians and salutatorians, because they are driven to do well early on, have strong support at home and are intellectually mature," said Jeff Meadors, the dual enrollment coordinator at GPC.In the past, a few students also have graduated with both a high school diploma and an associate degree. Many who don't have an associate degree upon finishing high school are within a semester or two of achieving one. Many of the top students who are in the dual Enrollment classes take multiple classes and some take two years worth of classes online or in regular classrooms.

"Dual enrollment students tend to look far ahead at two- and four-year degrees," Meadors said. "They are often more serious about protecting their HOPE GPA and earning competitive SAT or ACT scores."

This spring, Meadors said that nearly 50 local students are full-time students at GPC, taking no high school classes. He added that about half of the college's full-time dual enrollment students come from the area; the college also has campuses in Alpharetta, Clarkston, Decatur and Dunwoody.

Meadors noted that 23 students out of 62 dual enrollment students from Newton and Rockdale schools took honors courses during the spring semester. He added that dual enrollment students have a 97.5 percent pass rate on average each term; grades of C or higher transfer within the University System of Georgia as college credit.

"When I advise and register them, it amazes me how knowledgeable they are on Carnegie units, programs of study, math aptitude and what the economic outlook shows for their given choice of a major," Meadors said. "These are smart kids who may be top 10s and valedictorians and salutatorians in high school, but will be CEOs and innovative leaders in adulthood. It is a real honor to work with them."

July 1 is the deadline to register for classes at GPC for the fall 2013 term.

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 critical reading, 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.