While applying to college might seem really daunting and far away, a couple students at Academe and I are beginning this semester with a new school year on our high school campus and also on the Georgia State/Perimeter University campus. In short, the dual enrollment program offers a large selection of free classes to high school students although which classes you can take depends on which college you apply to. Private colleges like Agnes Scott offer enrollment classes but they are expensive. Additionally, the program gives high school students an experience in a college classroom before deciding things like whether or not they want to attend college, what they want to study, or what type of college they want to attend. The program even gives you experience in applying to college and so much more. Most importantly, the credits you earn go towards your college transcript.
I discovered the experience when I wasn’t able to make up a credit that I had missed during my exchange. I was looking for any other way to make up the credit that wasn’t an online course. My process of applying wasn’t crazy complicated. In fact, it was a lot easier than I expected. Now, I am currently attending Perimeter College at Clarkston and taking a civics class there. There were basically two main things I had to do for my application to GSU. The first was filling out a regular application to the school. On the application, there were questions distinguishing me from other applications as a dual enrollment student. I was able to complete this in just a few days. The next main part of the application was taking the SAT or ACT. For GSU, there were only two scores you had to meet– one score in the math section and one in the English section. This applied to both the SAT and the ACT. I took the ACT for the first time a week after I arrived home from my exchange in Madrid. I packed an enormous ACT study book, but I did not use it to study as much as I should have. Bottom-line: if you ever plan to take the ACT, even if you only had to meet two requirements in two categories, study for the whole thing. You should really be prepared as taking the ACT or SAT is expensive and often requires a long drive, an early morning, and a long day. Keep in mind that getting familiar with the tests early can prepare you to get the scores you want for colleges you might plan to apply to. GSU’s required scores are not terribly high. Also, since GSU is now connected to Perimeter University, which has several locations, you can get into classes at Perimeter even without the high scores required at GSU. All of these requirements are listed on their website. If you meet the requirements listed, you will most likely be accepted into the program.
The more difficult portion of the dual enrollment process occurs after being accepting into the program, when the school required just a few things. This included submitting things like my medical records and citizenship forms, attending an orientation with other dual enrollment students, filling out a form for my scholarship, and having to do a few other things along those lines. These things were all required before I was even able to register for classes. The hardest part of the process was getting rid of the holds on my account before I could register for a class.
Pro-tip: for this part of the process, make sure you get the number of the dual enrollment office directly when you visit the campus. Sitting on hold for over two hours on several occasions is never fun.
I have now been taking my class for the past two weeks, twice a week for an hour after school. I have really enjoyed my American government teacher, the curriculum, and my fellow students. I was expecting to see a lot of other dual enrollment students in my class. I was surprised to walk into a room of about 30 people and be the only person my age in the room. (This might have to do with the fact that it is a class later in the day.) Yesterday, before class, while on campus, I used my GSU ID to purchase a coffee. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that cool. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that old either. Ultimately, I don’t find the curriculum particularly difficult. Still, dual enrollment students are allowed to take more difficult courses. There are more classes to choose from than I expected.
Being enrolled as a dual enrollment student also gives you the perks of having access to things like both GSU and Perimeter College’s gyms, computers, free tickets to their football and basketball games, and so many other resources all with the use of your ID card. There are very few things a regular student has access to that a dual enrollment student doesn’t. I would recommend the program to anyone. It’s a great experience to have before college and one, at least for me, that has been really enjoyable so far!