Middle Georgia State University’s Dual-Enrollment Students Take Advantage of Free College
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
This fall, when she heads off to the University of Georgia, Bleckley County High School senior Jordan Barker is taking along something extra – nearly 40 hours of college credit.
That’s roughly a year and a half of college she’s already completed at Middle Georgia State University through Move on When Ready, the state’s dual-enrollment program for qualified high school students.
“My brother was in Move on When Ready, so I knew it had a lot of benefits,” said Barker, 18, who plans to major in computer systems engineering at UGA. “It saves my parents so much money because the classes and books are free. I know now that I’m prepared academically for UGA and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Barker is one of nearly 485 high school students currently enrolled at Middle Georgia State through Move on When Ready. The dual-enrollment program allows students to earn college credit while simultaneously completing their high school diplomas.
Through the Georgia Student Finance Commission, MOWR covers tuition, textbooks and nearly all fees, so students and their parents pay almost nothing. The program, which previously funded fall and spring semesters only, recently expanded to pay for eligible high school students to take college courses during summer terms.
Middle Georgia State is an attractive option for the region’s high school students who want to take part in Move on When Ready. MGA’s dual enrollment ranks in the top three of the state’s comprehensive universities.
“Move on When Ready is such an amazing deal, and Middle Georgia State is in an especially advantageous position to give high school students convenient access to it,” said Maggie Schuyler, who works with dual-enrolled students as the University’s assistant director of Admissions. “Not only do we offer a pretty wide variety of online courses, but we have five campuses that are strategically positioned and make it convenient for high school students to commute to traditional college classes.”
Barker, the Bleckley County High senior, has taken most of her MOWR classes on the Cochran Campus. This semester, her last before graduating high school, she is taking Biology, American Government and American History to 1865.
“I love it here,” she said. “It’s beautiful and a good place to study. I know it’s small compared to (the UGA campus in) Athens but it has given me a chance to learn how to get around a traditional college campus.”
Evan Bloodworth, 17, a senior at Warner Robins High School, also took classes on MGA’s Cochran Campus when he was part of the Georgia Academy, Middle Georgia State’s residential program for dual-enrollment students. A desire to live at home prompted his switch to becoming a commuter MOWR student, and he now takes Middle Georgia State classes online after completing some courses at the Warner Robins Campus.
When he graduates from Warner Robins High this spring, he will have about two years’ worth of college credit. Bloodworth plans to continue at MGA this fall – he’ll enter as a junior - to complete a bachelor’s degree in Biology, followed by medical school.
“What I’ve liked most is the flexibility,” Bloodworth said. “When I’m done with classes for the day, I don’t have to hang around school unless I just want to. And Middle Georgia State doesn’t have classes on Fridays. It’s not like high school where you have to be there for eight hours no matter what.”
De’Yana Hines, 18, a Dublin High School senior, also enjoys the flexibility as she takes classes on MGA’s Dublin and Cochran campuses. This semester she is taking Physics and Algebra in Cochran, Psychology in Dublin and Intro to Information Technology online.
“I love being able to make my own schedule,” said Hines, who plans to attend Mercer University in the fall to major in biomedical engineering. She’ll have 24 hours of college credit going in, thanks to MOWR.
“I’ve always been pretty independent, so taking college classes wasn’t that much of a change as far as scheduling, but it’s different in some ways, too. In college, the professors have more freedom than high school teachers, who have to follow a curriculum very closely. The Middle Georgia State professors can make adjustments or introduce new topics, so that makes the classes a little more challenging.”
A Hawkinsville High School senior, Ana Kilgore, will have 38 hours of college credit when she graduates this spring. She took her classes online and at the Cochran Campus.
“I won’t be nervous about starting college because of my experience at Middle Georgia State,” said Kilgore, 18, who plans to attend UGA for an engineering degree, although she hasn’t decided on a specialty. “Move on When Ready gave me the ability to experience college with a support system behind me – and we didn’t have to pay out of pocket for it. I would definitely recommend it to any high school student who is willing to put in the effort and work hard.”
Dual-enrolled students can continue to take part in activities at their high schools, and many who attend Middle Georgia State do just that. Bloodworth said he still attends pep rallies at Warner Robins High, while Barker plays on Bleckley County High’s tennis team.
Hines remains active at Dublin High, where she is in the Beta Club and Future Business Leaders of America chapter. She’s also part of the Dublin City Youth Council.
“I still see my friends,” she said. “I’m not missing out on anything.”