Eleven VHS students sign up for dual enrollment

Published 12:09 am Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vidalia — For a select group of students at Vidalia High School college life will likely be a little easier — because they’ll be starting their college careers before they even graduate from high school.

Cynthia Smith, the school’s guidance counselor, said 11 students from the junior and senior classes have applied for dual enrollment at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

That means that while the students are taking their mandatory high school classes, they’ll also be taking college classes online and earning credits before they even finish high school.

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This school year also marks the first year of dual enrollment between the high school and the university.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for the students,” Smith said.

Smith said while the students have only just applied for the program, the stringent application requirements all but guarantee their acceptance.

“There is no reason they should not be accepted,” she said.

Once in the program, students will have an opportunity to take classes in math, English, psychology and communications.

Emily Cavin, 17, said she’s especially excited to start a psychology course she’ll be working on in conjunction with her normal school work.

“I thought I might as well get a jump on it while I can,” she said of her class work. “It’ll help to lighten the load later on.”

Cavin said one her favorite aspects about the dual enrollment is the fact that she’ll have the opportunity to take the classes online and work at her own pace.

In fact, Cavin and fellow program participants Lauren Sproles and Sydney Guidroz said if the courses were not offered online they might not have taken the classes at all.

The three girls said their already hectic school schedules, combined with work schedules, would make the class very difficult to make time for if it were not offered online.

“Having the class online makes it a lot easier,” Sproles said.

ULM’s coordinator of outreach programs, Marilyn McIntosh, said the university intentionally used online classes to make the program accessible to more students.

In the 2007–2008 school year more than 600 students participated in the dual enrollment program statewide.

Smith said the program is also particularly useful for high school juniors.

If a junior takes full advantage of the program it’s possible for that student to take an entire semester’s worth of classes before they even finish high school Smith said — and all for just a $20 application fee.

Smith said while she was pleased to have 11 participants in the first year of the program, she is hoping for more in the future.

But VHS students about to enter the program are already excited.

Sproles just gives it a thumbs up.