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Dual degree program gives homeschooled students opportunity to take college courses while in high school
TandemEDU
Photo courtsey of TandemEDU.

Students in Georgia are completing college courses at 14- to 15-years-old thanks to TandemEDU, a statewide high school program that allows teens to begin college early.

This program allows students to attend one college class per week, giving them the chance to receive an associate degree by the time they finish high school.

“Our students take an average of two to three courses per quarter,” Program Founder Christine Torre said. “Then at the end of four years, [they] graduate with 27 high school credits and 60 college credits.”

In creating TandemEDU, Torre was seeking a place for home school students to complete high school and college classes.

“Public and private high school students often have access to college courses on their campus through dual enrollment,” Torre said. “Home school students did not have this option until we created TandemEDU.”

Students as young as 14 begin foundational high school classes before launching into their first college class. Up to 30 college credits are paid for under the Georgia Dual Enrollment Program, which covers the tuition, books and fees for high school students.

College classes can often satisfy both the high school graduation requirements and associate degree requirements, according to a TandemEDU press release.

“Graduating with the dual degrees can save students tens of thousands of dollars in college expenses,” Torre said.

Attending classes one day a week allows students to connect with peers while meeting with high school teachers and college course facilitators. Leah Wilson, a junior in high school who is pursuing her associate degree, acknowledged the role her teachers and facilitators have played in her high GPA.

“All of the teachers are very responsive and want all the students to succeed,” she said. “The facilitators are very beneficial and truly help you understand the college class you are taking.”

Although the program is rigorous, Torre acknowledges that average students have succeeded in the courses.

Emory Williams, a junior in high school, said she believes much of this success can be credited to the community built around TandemEDU.

“I love seeing my teachers and classmates every week, and I have learned so much from every class I have taken,” Williams said. “TandemEDU has been such a wonderful choice for me, and I do not regret it.”

Since 2016, TandemEDU has partnered with Toccoa Falls College to provide classes for high school students.

The program has graduated more than 30 students since 2020. Torre said 97% of seniors are Georgia HOPE scholars, and TandemEDU graduates have been accepted at colleges in Georgia such as the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University along with schools across the nation.

Currently, TandemEDU has four locations in metro Atlanta, including Cumming, with plans to launch in Jasper this fall.

“TandemEDU has given my kids a great education while letting me still enjoy the beauty of homeschooling,” said Laura Penn, who has children in the program. “Their one day a week in class gives them fun with other students and academic instruction from qualified teachers. Tandem has lifted the worry of teaching high school classes off me and given us all more confidence and time to enjoy family life.”

For more information on the TandemEDU dual degree program, visit www.tandemedu.org, email info@tandemedu.org or call 770-888-1717 to sign up for a spring open house event.