Dual-Enrolled Sisters Land Dual Full Rides to Emory University

Araceli and Yesenia Manuel understand that some traditions endure because they work. Hailing from a close-knit family, they hold dear the values their parents raised them with.

“Our family has at least one meal together every day,” Yesenia said. “Some of our friends think that’s kind of weird because it’s not what their home life is like.” 

As seniors at Greenwood High School, the sisters applied to a college match program through Questbridge, a national nonprofit organization that connects the brightest students from lower-income backgrounds with leading institutions of higher education. When matches are identified, the partnering colleges and universities fund scholarships for the matched individuals. Since the Manuel sisters are just 10 months apart in age, they have been attending school in the same grade.

Earlier this year, Araceli and Yesenia learned that they both had been matched with Emory University in Atlanta, both with a full free-ride scholarship each. They feel ready for college because they’ve already had a taste of college work as dual-enrolled students at Piedmont Technical College. 

“I think dual enrollment is a really great opportunity,” Araceli said. “It gives you an advantage in college because you already have learned what it’s like.” 

“We are getting some college credits early,” Yesenia continued, “and already have a foundation for what we will learn in college.”

Both are planning initially to major in biology. Araceli aspires to be an optometrist, and Yesenia is interested in becoming a veterinarian. Biology is a solid base for either. They will begin classes at Emory this fall and hope to secure living accommodations together. 

“Having shared a room before, we are quite used to living in each other’s personal space,” Araceli said. “We are really close.”

“We have actually never gone 24 hours without the other,” Yesenia added. “I can’t imagine what that would be like!” 

The two agree they are as compatible as roommates could be and anticipate the need to develop even finer “adulting” skills at Emory, especially with time management, taking initiative, and fostering communication. “It’s important to communicate with professors and understand what to expect,” Araceli noted. “They are happy that you are asking for help. They actually care about what you are doing.”

Each sister provides resolve and encouragement for the other.

“A support system is important. It helps motivate you to work,” Yesenia said. “She is my biggest support system. … Araceli is always trying new things and has motivated me to try new things.”

To learn more about Dual Enrollment at PTC, visit www.ptc.edu/dual

•    Araceli and Yesenia Manuel in front of Greenwood High School
•    The Manuel Family celebrates with the sisters on graduation day at PTC