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Portal High School student inspired by independence of Georgia Southern’s Dual Enrollment program

As a junior at Portal High School in Bulloch County, Heidi Sawyer was looking for an opportunity to experience independence before beginning her college career.

When she learned of the Dual Enrollment program at Georgia Southern University, an opportunity for high school students to challenge themselves through college coursework, it sounded like the perfect opportunity.

“What inspired me was a sense of independence,” said Sawyer who is dual enrolled at the Statesboro Campus. “Being able to step out of high school and get a sense of what it would be like to go to college and have the responsibility for my own classes sounded intriguing.”

Sawyer said just one semester of participating in dual enrollment has better prepared her for a full-time college career.

“It’s prepared me by teaching me that it takes initiative and working hard,” Sawyer said. “You know the professor is not going to just give you grades. You have to work for them. You have to know how to manage your time because high school is kind of planned out for you. It’s helped me a lot that way.”

Students can take a single course or enroll full-time. Some students graduate high school earning as much as two years’ worth of college credit, often for free. More than 500 students from more than 25 high schools participate each semester across the three campuses of Georgia Southern.

Sawyer is taking English 1101 during her first semester of dual enrollment. The experience has been a welcomed challenge.

“It’s really been challenging to me academically, which is good, but I’ve grown as a person, too,” Sawyer said. “It’s not like high school. Nobody here cares about judging anybody else. Everybody is focused on their school work and their own lives. So, I’ve learned how to be more mature and responsible.”

Dual Enrollment is open to high school students in good academic standing. The deadline to apply for the program for spring semester is Dec. 1. For more information, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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