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Perimeter welcomes high school students
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The student body seems to be getting younger at Georgia Perimeter College recently, as more high school students are enrolling in its dual enrollment program to achieve a two-year degree before graduating high school.

The Newton campus has the most dual enrollment students of Perimeter’s four campuses. There were 66 last year, 116 this fall semester, and 130 have enrolled for the spring semester, which starts Jan. 10.

College-bound students in Georgia have three paths available to earn college credit before graduating from high school: Dual enrollment, advanced placement, and international baccalaureate. Dual enrollment is a cooperative effort between the high schools and one or more local colleges, advanced placement and international baccalaureate are offered by high schools and generally taught by high school teachers.

Dual enrollment, joint enrollment and Move On When Ready (MOWR) fall under the umbrella term "College Credit Now" programs. Jeff Meadors, Perimeter’s dual enrollment coordinator, handles these programs for the Newton campus and serves the south clusters of Gwinnett, Social Circle City, Walton, Morgan, Butts, Jasper, Henry, Rockdale, Putnam and Newton schools.

Move On When Ready became effective in July, and has been instrumental in allowing high school juniors and seniors to attend post-secondary institutions like Perimeter as full-time students. The program allows the students to earn course credits that will be applied toward high school graduation and college. Tuition is guaranteed by the Georgia Department of Education, though they are responsible for the cost of books.

Meadors said the surge in dual enrollment stems from strong academic advisement, strong relationships between Perimeter and local schools, and most importantly, trust.

"Trust is at the crux of all that I do in dual enrollment," said Meadors. "I do not place high enrollment over what is in the best interest of a student. Without trust, the program will not flourish as it should."

According to Meadors, the advisement of College Credit Now students is critical, as they cannot risk one incorrect class registration. Meadors and his team of advisors meet with the students, their parent or guardian and high school counselors to make certain they graduate on time, maintain class rank, and fulfill core area requirements for their ultimate four-year degree.

"There is an organizational plan to advisement and it doesn’t just happen," said Meadors. "It is strategic, collaborative, focused and orderly."