Getting a head start

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

College can be intimidating, but thanks to programs like the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Gear Up Alabama it can be introduced earlier on in life. The program is a great way for high school students to be exposed to a small portion of what life is like as a college student; minus the Ramen Noodles of course.

These students have the opportunity to not only gain college credit, but gain the experience needed to navigate through college.

They also have the unique opportunity of being able to experience high school and college simultaneously, while learning the difference in how to successfully navigate both. Having a head start is an opportunity that, if possible, should definitely be taken full advantage of. Participating in programs such as Gear Up Alabama gives students an opportunity to finish school early because of the number of hours they enter college with.

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Although I did not participate in Gear Up Alabama, I did participate in dual enrollment. Much like Gear Up, dual enrollment allowed high school students to take college courses, thus providing us with a head start. Unlike the Gear Up students, I could only take a couple of classes, but I still started school with more college course hours than a lot of my peers. This, subsequently resulted in me graduating before a lot of my fellow classmates.

Being even a few steps ahead grants students the opportunity to worry less about the basics and get right to the meat of what they are studying. This, in turn, helps them to graduate early and possibly accumulate fewer student loans that have to be paid off in the future. Just by taking college courses early, they have created a better future for themselves even as far as post graduation. Opportunity is often what separates some students, and by being offered something so great as a head start these students have been afforded one of the best opportunities in the world.

Oniska Blevins is a reporter with The Selma Times-Journal. She can be reached at