GWECP and Beyond: Exploring Dual-Enrollment Opportunities
Class of 2024 students in the GW Early College Program / Credits: Avajane Lei
Walls’s partnership with George Washington University (GWU) and other universities is a major draw for many potential students. Dual enrollment opportunities engage students in college level work and the college environment before graduating high school.
In the GW Early College Program (GWECP), students take all of their junior and senior-year courses at GW, allowing them to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Students apply to GWECP in their sophomore year. Typically, the application process starts in late February and concludes in the spring. Students hear back on their decision in April, and after a round of interviews, students are admitted around May.
Other dual enrollment programs include the GW Exposure program, which allows students to take one college class per semester. Courses don’t appear on DCPS transcripts and have no effect on GPA. In some cases, GW course credits will transfer to students’ fouryear colleges. Students still get access to GW’s facilities and resources. Applications for the summer semester will open in March and be sent out to incoming juniors and seniors.
Similarly, programs with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) offer dual enrollment opportunities for sophomore, juniors, and seniors at colleges like UDC, Bay Atlantic University, Marymount University, and Montgomery College.
OSSE allows high school students to take up to two courses per semester. Applications open around the end of a semester so students have time to apply for the upcoming one. OSSE matches students with a select college from a ranked list so students are given a variety of schools they can attend.
UDC-Care offers high school students the option to take one course at the community college’s campus after being admitted through an application with a timeline similar to OSSE. Students meet with a college advisor that helps them navigate their course offerings. Applications can be accessible through school counselors or the OSSE and UDC websites.
Unlike GW programs that are open to only Wallsjuniors and seniors and follow a different application timeline, OSSE and UDC-Care are open to all high schoolers who are interested in being exposed to rigorous college work early. In fact, junior counselor Kathryn Moore encourages students to utilize Walls’s connections with GW but suggests that underclassmen take classes at OSSE or UDC before applying to a more prestigious program.
Exposure students celebrated their successes while admitting the challenges they faced with an additional class. Michael McLeod (‘24) enjoyed “getting a 90 on my midterm,” but did not enjoy “writing five papers in a matter of two weeks.” Alex Lamb (‘24) expressed excitement about “learning so many cool things and different formulas,” while Adelaide Van Wye (‘24) said that “balancing GW work and Walls work” was a challenge.
Applying to GWECP has its advantages alongside getting an associate’s degree. GWECP junior Jackson Guo enjoys “being able to create my own schedule.” GWECP students are allowed to pick the time of their classes, opening up more room for other activities throughout the day.
Ishan Pabla (‘24) said, “Meeting undergrads and professors, taking exciting classes, and having a sense of freedom” were the advantages of participating in GWECP.
GWECP has its challenges too. Not only is the workload an increase from high school, but students expressed difficulty in trying to maintain a solid relationship with friends from Walls while at the same time trying to connect with GW students. One student described itas “a challenge in interacting with college students and being involved when you don’t live on campus or have the full college experience.”
Students of both programs said adapting to a college structure was a challenge. Bereket Hailu (‘24), who is enrolled at Bay Atlantic University through OSSE, said that “adapting to the structure of a purely lecture based class was a bit strange, and, if I’m being honest, boring.”
Avajane Lei (‘24), who did UDC-Care as a sophomore and is now in GWECP, remembers being “slammed in the face with intense readings and even the way we were taught how to do citations wasn’t exactly sufficient for college professor standards.”
Though students experienced obstacles adapting to a college environment, their motivation to do well led them to apply. Some liked the idea of graduating college two years early, while others wanted to gain some experience prior to entering college in a few years. “I applied to prepare myself for college and to get at least some college out of the way, in terms of credit,” said Exposure participant Derek Emons (‘24).
Pabla had a different approach: He applied for GWECP because he felt like he would be working “the same amount at Walls, but with more reward.”
Applications to the summer 2023 GW Exposure program are due April 3