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March 15th, 2011
BBN Staff /

GPC Offers North Fulton Students An Early Jump at College

Dual Enrollment Programs Offer a Variety of Course Loads for High School Seniors.

Alpharetta High School senior Laura Ritter planned on taking just one Dual Enrollment course at Georgia Perimeter College before graduating. She ended up taking six.

"I planned on taking just the DE English class because that's the popular thing to do at Alpharetta," Ritter said. "Students here like it because you get both high school and college credit for one course. I decided to take the English course, but I also looked at what else Dual Enrollment had to offer.”

Ritter took three GPC courses last semester and she's taking three more this semester.

"I'll graduate high school having completed six college courses," she said.

After completing two years at Dunwoody High School and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, Laura Barrett decided she was ready to move on.

Barrett opted to leave high school after her sophomore year and enroll full time at Georgia Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus through a new dual enrollment program called Move On When Ready.

"My dad loves it that I'm here now," says Barrett, 16, and a pre-med major. "He thinks it is the best opportunity. I'm here so I don't have to fit college courses around my high school classes; I don't take any courses at my high school anymore. 

"Next semester I'm taking mostly science classes," adds Barrett. "I'll start chemistry next semester. I'll also have physics and biology as part of the MOWR program. I'll graduate high school and three months later, I'll enter a four-year college as a junior. Most of the students here already think I'm just another 18-year-old freshman.”

Georgia Perimeter College allows qualified high school students to spend their junior and senior years as part-time or full-time college students, earning both high school and college credit for their work.

"Dual Enrollment allows students to take as few college courses as they wish, and MOWR requires high school students to become full-time students at GPC,' said Janet Orr, GPC Dual Enrollment/MOWR counselor on the Dunwoody and Alpharetta campuses. "The major funding difference is that MOWR uses the money usually paid to the high schools to pay the college tuition and fees while ACCEL (which funds regular Dual Enrollment) uses HOPE funds.  Students who opt to use MOWR will not use their HOPE money early.”

MOWR is also only available to students who attended a Georgia public high school and are taking a full-time load of classes (12 credits) at the college and no classes at the high school.  ACCEL can be used by public and private high school students and students who are home schooled. Both programs require students to have at least a 3.0 grade point average to participate.

"Depending on what the student is ready for, they may consider MOWR or DE if they meet the other requirements," Orr said.

Northview High School senior Holly Stone decided she was ready to try MOWR and found the transition just right for her.

"I was ready to move on and be in a college environment full time," said Stone. "It was a great transition. I've met the other MOWR kids, and we all feel that we are ready to move on. It's been a really nice experience for us all.”

Milton High school senior Mantas Kunigonis heard about dual enrollment from a friend and decided to try it for himself.

"I took the chance," Kunigonis said. "I find that I enjoy the individual responsibilities that come with the freedoms of being on a college campus, and I feel that drives my focus.”

Last year, Chamblee High School student Erin Bell was a Dual Enrollment student, taking courses at her high school and at GPC. This semester, Bell opted for MOWR.

"Switching to MOWR wouldn't touch HOPE, so I decided to do it," said Bell, a 3.8 GPA student who majors in chemistry and French at GPC. "If you're mature enough, you can make it work. You have to know what kind of person you are and know why you are here. I was ready to move on.”

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