College Credit While Still in High School, A Win-Win Opportunity

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Hanry Fetzer, Dual Enrollment student at Dalton State College and Ms. Tina Scibilia, Dalton High Counselor, discuss Henry’s college experience while a high school student. Henry takes four courses at Dalton State college and two at Dalton High School.

“Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions,” in the words of Stephen Covey. Fortunately, the Georgia Legislature agrees with this concept by implementing a Dual Enrollment program for high school students. This program allows students to earn high school credit and college credit at the same time.

In this case, the high school and the postsecondary institution both receive funds from the State of Georgia for the same students. Many might consider this as “double-dipping.” However, the opportunity for a student to receive college credit while still in high school provides the student a head start on college and statistically, makes them more likely to complete college. According to a “US News and World Report” article, “There’s a growing base of evidence that dual enrollment students do better in college. Students who’ve taken “dual” classes in high school are more likely to start at four-year colleges and more likely to persist toward a degree. And they earn higher grades than similar students who haven’t taken such classes.”

In Georgia, students have several opportunities to participate in college classes while still in high school. Accel is a program in which a student scores high enough on entrance exams for the course work to qualify for University System of Georgia (USG) credit. Other dual enrolled students may earn credit through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Other high school students can “Move on When Ready” and become full time college students. Students participating in Dual Enrollment must be at least 16 years of age.

In talking with Dr. Angela Harris, Director of Admissions at Dalton State College, she sees “The two immediate benefits to the students who participate in Dual Enrollment are that they get a jump- start on college; and the economic benefit is that funding is available to cover college tuition.”

Dr. Patti Skates, Career Transition Specialist at GNTC says that “The Dual Enrollment program that GNTC offers is a “win-win” for the students, parents and for the college. The student is able to obtain college credit while fulfilling their high school requirements. GNTC is constantly thinking outside the box to meet the needs of the students; we put students first.”

At Dalton State College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College numerous high school students are taking advantage of this opportunity. It is a desire of both postsecondary schools for more students to take advantage of this opportunity. Dalton State College has 9 Accel students from Dalton Public Schools and two MOWR students and has 20 Accel and 4 MOWR students from Whitfield County. GNTC presently has 10 Dual Enrollment students from Dalton Public Schools and 31 Dual Enrollment students from Whitfield County Schools. In 2013 Dalton State had one MOWR student from Whitfield County to graduate from high school and complete an associate degree at the same time.

Jacob Jackson states, “Dual Enrollment has helped me complete a lot of my required course work for the Health Assistant program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. I’m so proud that I have had the opportunity to get a jump start on completing my college goals, at a discounted rate with GNTC. This helps my family and me enormously.”

“Dual Enrollment is a wonderful opportunity for all high school students. I feel that Dual Enrollment is very rewarding, and has helped me get a head start on college courses, as well as complete high school requirements” states Abbie Smith, a dual enrolled student

“GNTC is excited to offer students of Greater Dalton an opportunity to take college courses while completing their high school diploma. A high school student who experiences success in a dual enrollment course gains confidence. The student realizes that they can be successful at the college level. A new set of possibilities emerge for that student. Parents love dual enrollment courses because of the huge cost savings. Dual enrolled high school students have the opportunity to earn college credit at no cost to the student.” according to Dr. Ginger Mathis, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at GNTC.

Stephen Covey had “win-win” as one of the Habits of Highly Effective People. Dual Enrollment is a win-win of highly effective students, high schools and post secondary institutions. If you have a high school student in your family, share this win-win opportunity with them. It might just open the door to their future.

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