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The Student Stance: Dual enrollment: a chance to explore

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By Julia Rapoport

Just before noon in the Howey Building on the Georgia Tech campus, dozens of college students filled the hallway, waiting for a chemistry class to file out of Lecture Hall three. I stood nervously among my fellow Calculus II classmates, hoping I was in the right place. The girl next to me, a freshman Tech student, looked a little lost too. I was glad I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb, or at least like the high school student I am.
I chose to dual enroll at Georgia Tech for several reasons. First, even though I had already taken both AP Calculus classes and AP Statistics at Grady and had enough math credits to graduate, I wanted to take a math class. With no math classes left at Grady, I had to look beyond the high school arena.
Second, as a senior with only a couple of required credits left, I was looking to fill my schedule with appealing but also challenging classes. Too often, students, especially seniors, fill their schedules with electives they don’t really care for simply because they need to take eight classes each semester. Grady’s elective selection is limited; dual enrollment expands the variety and difficulty level of class choices. For example, students who dual enroll students at Georgia State University select classes from a list of more than 100 courses ranging from Greek and Roman Mythology to Introductory Swahili.
By allowing juniors and seniors to enroll in college classes while still in high school, dual enrollment offers students an opportunity to challenge themselves with college classes, continue coursework at a higher level and “try  college on for size” without sacrificing the high school experience. Credits earned can be used toward high school graduation, as transferable college credits or both. The cost of classes is covered by the Accel Program, which is part of HOPE funding.
The dual enrollment program differs slightly from college to college. For instance, Georgia State allows dual enrolled students to take as many or as few classes as desired across diverse subject areas, while Georgia Tech is more restrictive.
I found myself looking forward to my Georgia Tech class and all the freedoms and responsibilities that came with it. I could decide for myself if I needed to go to the lectures or review sessions. No rules prohibited eating or cell phone use, as long as I wasn’t disturbing the class. Homework assignments were rare, and there was no such thing as busy work. I was free to learn, or not learn, as I pleased. The class was fast-paced, and I learned more in one semester than in most year-long classes at Grady. On the last day, I turned in my final exam with a sense of accomplishment. Because I took the rest of my classes here at Grady, I was able to take the college class without missing out on my extracurricular activities or any aspect of senior year.
Grady’s location in midtown Atlanta opens doors for its many talented students. Why not take advantage of the opportunities? Whether you’re a Spanish student looking to continue cultivating your language skills after AP Spanish or a science student wanting to explore an area of science not taught at Grady, I encourage dual enrollment. It really enriches the high school experience.

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The Student Stance: Dual enrollment: a chance to explore