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JEFF MEADORS: Quality advising helps students navigate a complex system

It’s tedious but worth it – quality academic advisement. It takes a lot of time and even more listening.

My last column emphasized the value of a rich, competitive transcript and a focus on math.

Then comes science.

Most Georgia students complete biology and physical science in grades 9 and 10. Students in systems with block scheduling enjoy the luxury of sometimes accelerating faster.

Once biology and physical science (physics is allowed in some systems) have been completed, then students eligible for college admission while in high school may choose non-duplicative sciences to fulfill high school graduation requirements. Environmental science, geology or astronomy work as units 3 and 4 or an AP science based on the offerings at the local school. Some CTAE sciences count also.

A second semester college science, like GPC’s Chemistry 1152, would fulfill a non-duplicative unit; students must complete Chem 1151 as a prerequisite. All college science lectures require labs.

An increasing number of students seek pre-health and STEM careers. They must be reading the same issues of Forbes and Fortune that I read.

Pre-health majors (medical, dental, radiological, physical therapy) follow a very different physics route than STEM majors and one pre- health major – pharmacy.

Students in programs like Rockdale Career Academy may combine CTAE pathway completion with AP and college credit in the same building.

Georgia Perimeter College, a unit of the USG where transferability is high, offers four college-level honors classes at RCA this school year all of which count for courses deemed rigorous under HOPE 2015: English 1101-H, Economics 2105-H, English 1102-H, and Political Science 1101- H. These honors sections guarantee small class sizes and a cohort of students with high grade point averages.

GPC’s English 1101-Honors may return to the high school as either British or World literature.

Economics 2105-Honors fulfills the high school unit in this area and students should take the GA Milestones EOC at the high school in December, not April. GPC provides content study guides and tutoring for all dual enrollment students enrolled in college courses for which there is a GA Milestones EOC.

English 1102-H typically returns to the high school transcript as an academic elective due to its high school equivalence title as “literary types.” However, for students who complete AP Lang or AP Lit and earn College Board transfer credit for English 1101 the GPC English 1102 class often counts as a 3rd unit of English for juniors or a 4th unit for seniors. Students should conference with their high school professional guidance counselors as systems are granted some flexibility throughout Georgia.

GPC’s Political Science 1101-H fulfills the high school American Government requirement and as long as students earn a grade of “C” or higher the course fulfills the POLS 1101 requirement for all four-year degrees in state colleges.

Current juniors who complete these four courses at RCA and who also complete their CTAE pathways this school year may want to consider fulltime college during their senior year, allowing them to take advantage of higher math and science offerings (often through math placement testing) and a range of electives covered for payment.

Tuition paid. Fees paid for eligible full-timers. The opportunity to boost the HOPE GPA while not touching a single HOPE credit.

And a chance to move to the front of the line in an increasingly competitive American marketplace.

There are only winners here.

Jeff Meadors contributes occasional analysis and opinion on education and schools.