Greenwood High School Senior Gets Head Start on College
The day-to-day world of a high school student can be a busy one, and college life comes with a whole different set of activities and responsibilities. Evan Brown has found a way to conquer one while getting a head start on the other.
Is it tough to juggle?
“Not at all,” says Brown, a senior at Greenwood High School. “For the past two years, I’ve taken almost all my classes at Piedmont Tech.”
Brown found his path through the Dual Enrollment program at Piedmont Technical College (PTC). It lets him go to college and get high school credit at the same time. Dual Enrollment is an advanced-credit program for high school juniors and seniors. Different classes are available online, at the student’s high school, or on a PTC campus.
There are four ways to participate in Dual Enrollment at PTC:
• Traditional Dual Enrollment courses are taken at a student’s high school with their high school instructors.
• OnDECK classes are offered on a PTC campus and let students earn high school units and college credit at the same time.
• PTC has partnered with some school districts on a Middle College that allows high school juniors and seniors the chance to earn up to 48 college credit hours.
• Early admission is for students looking to earn credit through PTC, but not through their high school.
Brown is taking the Middle College route.
“It’s basically just like starting college early,” he says.
The courses he takes on the PTC campus count toward his high school graduation requirements, keeping him on schedule for his diploma. Meanwhile, he’s getting a jump on his college plans, which include the aerospace engineering program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
“It’s a lot of help,” Brown says. “It saves a lot of money, and it gets me prepared for classes at USC.”
Dual Enrollment at PTC is designed to be affordable to all students. South Carolina residents attend tuition-free if they take at least 6 credit hours per semester (generally at least two classes) at their high school, on campus or online.
“That is a big selling point,” says Howard Green, career development facilitator at Greenwood High. “A lot of our students take a few Dual Enrollment courses.”
Dual Enrollment comes with a range of options. Some students are planning for advanced degrees. Others are seeking a credential that will allow them to begin a professional career as soon as they leave high school.
“I should be ahead by almost a year, so I’ll basically be starting USC as a sophomore,” Brown says.
He’ll also be earning a University Studies Certificate while at PTC. The certificate recognizes the completion of at least 30 credit hours in foundational courses. The credits will transfer to other state institutions of higher learning, making it perfect for students such as Brown.
He says his counselors at Greenwood High explained Dual Enrollment to him and “it seemed like a good plan.” Brown also plays tennis, and Green is his coach.
“I’ve known him for about seven or eight years,” Green says. “He’s a very good student.”
Once students get to 10th grade, Greenwood High presents Dual Enrollment as an option, Green says. He says many students will take advantage of the program to pass 100-level college courses before heading to college full time.
Middle College students taking courses on a college campus presents an opportunity for new responsibilities, according to Green.
“Piedmont Tech treats them like college students,” he says.
Brown, who describes himself as “pretty self-motivated,” says he’d definitely recommend Dual Enrollment to other students.
“There’s no reason not to,” he says.
Dual Enrollment is available at high schools throughout the PTC footprint. Students should talk with a high school guidance counselor if they think Dual Enrollment might be right for them. Learn more online at www.ptc.edu/dual or contact PTC’s Dual Enrollment Office at (864) 941-8315.
PHOTO: Evan Brown