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Dual enrollment works for area students

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POSTED: March 10, 2014 9:56 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

Liberty County High School senior Kirsten Schreihofer, at the microscope, center, is taking a Biology II class at Armstrong Atlantic State University – Liberty Center through the dual-enrollment program. Schreihofer’s college classmates are, at left, Shaquella Martin and Naiyill Morales, and at right are Latreva Meekins, Christal Rockholt and Kelly Phillips.

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Area college administrators maintain dual-enrollment can help high-school students get a jump on their post-secondary educations and, in some cases, provide them the skills to be more competitive in the job market right after high-school graduation.
Liberty County students wanting to take college-level courses while in high school can dual enroll at the Liberty College & Career Academy, the Liberty campus of Savannah Technical College or Armstrong Atlantic State University – Liberty Center.
“First, it helps to ease the transition from high school to college, giving (students) a first-hand experience of what it is like to be in a college classroom,” said retired Col. Pete Hoffman, AASU – Liberty Center director. “This can strengthen a student’s confidence and helps (them) make important post-high-school decisions.”
Hoffman said dual-enrolled students earn credit toward college and save money by not having to pay college tuition.
“For talented high-school students, dual enrollment can offer them the academic challenge they need to stay engaged,” he said.
Liberty County High School senior Kirsten Schreihofer, who is dual enrolled at Armstrong, and her mother, Carla Schreihofer, said they are pleased with the program and say more students should take advantage of it. Both mother and daughter said the college offers dual-enrolled students flexible schedules, and the only costs they’ve paid are for textbooks and a lab fee.
“It’s a better option for me,” Kirsten Schreihofer said. The LCHS senior also takes AP classes at the high school. She said she finds her college classes to be as academically rigorous as her AP classes, but that she must be more disciplined in her study habits and better at managing her time at the college level. She also works 20 hours a week and serves on student council at LCHS and is in the marching band. Her mother added that dual-enrolled students can be involved in extra-curricular activities at their high schools and not miss out on “the high-school experience.”
Carla Schreihofer also asserted that her daughter can get the same credit for a high-school course in one semester at Armstrong as she would in a year-long AP class. Students usually take one exam at the end of an AP class, she said, and in her opinion if they don’t do well taking tests, they might end up having wasted their time.
Kirsten Schreihofer said she “is almost a (college) sophomore,” and plans to study bio-chemistry at Kennesaw State University this fall. Her mother said she will have 20 college credits by the time she graduates from LCHS.
Hoffman said there are two dual-enrollment programs available at Armstrong — the ACCEL program and Move On When Ready (MOWR).
“Both programs are non-need based and state-funded, and award secondary and college credit for completing graduation and high-school diploma requirements,” he said. “With ACCEL, students attend college classes part-time while taking the remainder of their classes at their high school. With MOWR, students are full-time and take all courses at the university or college.”
Hoffman said dual enrollment is only available spring and fall semesters. High-school students who take Armstrong classes during the summer would have to pay their own tuition.
To be eligible for dual enrollment, high-school students must maintain a 3.0 or higher grade-point average, and earn a minimum combined SAT score of 1,000 on the reading and math portions for ACCEL and a minimum combined SAT score of 1,200 for MOWR.
Dr. Ken Boyd, Savannah Technical College vice president of academic affairs, said dual enrollment benefits high-school students and their parents without impacting the schools.
“It benefits them from a cost perspective,” Boyd said. “The other aspect … is that the high school is still collecting the full (full-time equivalent) dollars for that student. So the high school is not being monetarily penalized for having that student with us for ‘x’ amount of classes.”
Students who are dual enrolled at STC or taking STC classes through LCCA, earn their high-school diploma and, in most cases, also can earn a technical certificate of credit, the STC administrator said.
“Earning a TCC is a tremendous resume booster for the student,” Boyd said. He said STC is aligned with businesses and major manufacturers in Liberty County and the coastal region.
He pointed to the aviation program at the academy, saying the students in the program are just the type of future workers companies like Gulfstream would be seeking.  
Bradwell Institute senior Wayne Myrie is dual enrolled at STC through the college and career academy. He completed a manufacturing specialist certification last semester, and is taking an engineering course this semester. Myrie says he is grateful for the dual enrollment program.
“It helps me a lot because it gives me college credit and it gives me a chance to experience a different aspect of manufacturing (I would not have) if LCCA wasn’t here,” he said. “I’m always interested in trying something new. I wanted to expand my learning opportunities. My dad told me to broaden my horizons … to be good at more than one thing.”
Myrie said he is learning drafting and design in the engineering class, and he and other students are building a Co2 car and learning about power-tool safety and use.
 “It’s a real good class,” Myrie said. “You can come out of high school and start making good money with great benefits, better than somebody who has just a high-school diploma.”
Like many Liberty County students, the Bradwell senior belongs to a military family. He said he and his parents might relocate to New York after he graduates high school, but if they remain in Liberty County he plans to continue attending STC and then would transfer to a four-year university for his bachelor’s degree.
“Dual enrollment has been a huge success here at LCCA,” said Tom Alexander, college and career academy CEO. “Currently, we offer dual-enrollment programs in three career-related fields and one early college-credit experience. In the career-related areas, students can sign up for aircraft support, manufacturing and criminal justice. Each of these programs, offered by Savannah Tech, earns the student their entry-level technical certificate of completion in that area. With respect to aircraft and manufacturing, this TCC is enough to qualify them for entry level employment at places like SNF-Chemtall, Interstate, Firth-Rixson and Gulfstream.”
Alexander said dual-enrolled students can earn 15 semester credit hours from STC via the early college-credit option. 

 

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