Homeschoolers gain insight into Early College option

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROBERDEL — Christy Mabe might have the easiest job in the world. She works with high school students in Richmond County to tell them about how they can earn a two-year college degree — for free — all while attending high school.

On Thursday, Mabe had an attentive audience as four families listened and asked questions inside the fellowship hall at Roberdel Baptist Church. The students were in grades nine, seven and five — each just the right age to begin thinking about Richmond Early College High School or the dual enrollment program at Richmond Community College.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ernie and Karen Walters sit with daughter Madison, center, and listen to dual enrollment options and possibilities. Madison is starting the 10th grade this fall and can begin taking classes at Richmond Community College next summer.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ernie and Karen Walters sit with daughter Madison, center, and listen to dual enrollment options and possibilities. Madison is starting the 10th grade this fall and can begin taking classes at Richmond Community College next summer.

Mabe reviewed both during an informal 90-minute session and she revealed how homeschooled students might have a leg up on their public school counterparts, especially when it comes to the dual enrollment program.

Both Early College and Dual Enrollment fall under the Career and College Promise umbrella. The presentation was organized by Carmen Hadinger of Richmond County Home Educators. The home-schooled group has about 30 families involved of the 117 children being home-schooled in Richmond County. Mabe was joined by Leighton Bell, who soon will take over as assistant director of K-12 partnerships at RCC.

Richmond Early College High School

Students throughout Richmond County apply for Richmond Early College High School in February of their eighth grade year.

Students do not attend the Ninth Grade Academy; instead, they report to Richmond Early College High School on the campus of Richmond Community College for daily instruction. Tuition and books are provided at no cost to the student.

The biggest difference between Early Colleg and Dual Enrollment is that the former is a competitive process while the latter, so long as a student meets basic prerequisites such as a minimum 3.0 grade point average, is open to everyone.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Carmen Hadinger and her son, Austin, a seventh-grader, are weighing the differences between Early College and dual enrollment.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Carmen Hadinger and her son, Austin, a seventh-grader, are weighing the differences between Early College and dual enrollment.

Mabe said 192 students applied for Early College last year; 75 were accepted. The number of spots available varies year to year.

The selection committee, Mabe said, looks at two primary sources — family income of the student in comparison with household size and the level of the parents’ education. Mabe said it’s important to remember the Early College program was started with first-generation college students in mind, and income is a key indicator as well.

In addition to those two primary factors, students’ test scores, attendance, behavior patterns and transcripts can be evaluated. Of the 192 students that applied last year, the committee interviewed 100 of them. Students were asked what their future goals were and why they should be accepted. There also was a writing component to the evaluation process.

The downsides of Early College include the different attendance requirements and the automatic elimination of certain extracurricular activities. Sports are now allowed because Early College and Richmond Senior now dismiss at about the same time. But, Mabe said, football and golf are two sports that are difficult to manage due to the time requirements of each sport, especially the travel to competitions on the road.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Christy Mabe, Early College liaison with Richmond Community College, talks with Richmond County home-schooled students and their parents on Thursday during a presentation at Roberdel Baptist Church.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Christy Mabe, Early College liaison with Richmond Community College, talks with Richmond County home-schooled students and their parents on Thursday during a presentation at Roberdel Baptist Church.

RCC instructors aren’t required to excuse absences of student-athletes, Mabe said. Other extracurricular activities, such as band and Army JROTC, are out.

Despite Early College being a Richmond County Schools program, homeschooled students are not at a disadvantage during the competitive selection process, Mabe said.

“They all have the same equal chance,” she said. “Essentially the students become a number at that time.”

Dual enrollment at RCC

Students can begin attending Richmond Community College the summer after they compete their sophomore year in high school under the dual enrollment program. Tuition is waived to students, but students are responsible for the cost of books.

For home-schooled students in particular, the dual enrollment program can be just as beneficial as for their public school counterparts — and perhaps more so. While the Early College program guarantees that successful students graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year degree within five years — some, such as Mary Katherine Williams do it within three — homeschoolers can achieve the same thing through dual enrollment.

While students at Richmond Senior High are locked into a routine, homeschooled students’ daily schedules are flexible enough to allow them to take college classes any time of day — as well as online. Mabe said a dedicated, motivated student who began college classes the summer after his or her sophomore year could still earn a degree by the time they graduate high school.

There is no limit to the number of classes a homeschooled student takes at RCC in dual enrollment.

“It’s whatever you feel like your child can handle,” Mabe said.

Mabe said students’ ACT or SAT scores can be used for college placement purposes. Otherwise, students could be subject to RCC’s AccuPlacer testing.

Details

For additional information on the Early College or Dual Enrollment programs, contact Mabe at 910-410-1762 or send an email.

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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