ORANGEBURG, S.C. — An advanced dual enrollment program is helping Orangeburg County high school students stay one step ahead in getting their higher education.
“The students who have access to college classes early, the rigor level, they’re more prepared when they get out there. They have an idea of how college is," said Orangeburg advanced college coordinator Stephanie Alford.
The Orangeburg Advanced College allows high school students to graduate with a high school diploma while earning an associates degree at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
The program is targeted toward 8th grade students enrolled in both English One and Algebra One.
“In my mind, once they get to college they’ll know exactly what they want to do. In this case, they’ll have two years down. It’s cost saving for the parents," said Alford.
The program is offered free for students. It aims to offer a holistic experience by allowing them to form community with other students in the district. They are also mentored by students in the Claflin honors college.
By the spring, the district will also be introducing another free program in collaboration with Claflin University called Growing Future Educators.
“Right now across the nation there’s a huge teacher shortage so we’re trying to recruit homegrown teachers that will go to school here, stay here, and teach in our Orangeburg County Schools," said Alford.
She says the goal is for students to walk away from the program with lifelong friendships and a thirst for knowledge. The applicate deadline for the Orangeburg Advanced College Program is March 1.
For more information, visit their website.