College might be starting early for Brenau Academy girls this year, but classes are going to start later than usual.
"We will now be following the whole (Brenau University) schedule," said Lenna Applebee, assistant dean for the academy.
School starts for both the university and academy on Aug. 29 as the academy begins its first year as a dual-enrollment school instead of a separate high school program. Nine students were enrolled in the academy as of July 25, eight returning students and one
They will all be dual-enrolled at Brenau University, earning high school and college credit for courses.
Ideally, Applebee said in an earlier interview, students will complete their last junior and senior years at the academy and graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts in liberal studies from the university.
"I am mostly excited about having a college life experience in my high school senior year," Gyu-ree Kwon, a Brenau Academy student from Daegu, South Korea, said in an email to The Times. "Since my friends in Korea are all college students, I really want to be a college student as soon as possible."
Before the Early College program, academy students would be in class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first few days of class would be spent reviewing material from previous years and going over syllabi.
"I don't really have concerns but I'm going to be a commuter, not a resident student. I'm really kind of nervous of being in a whole different situation compared to the last three years of my life in Brenau," Kwon said.
"(The) first day of my school this year will be very different because some of my friends will not be there and my teachers will not be there, but I am very excited about meeting new friends and professors."
Applebee thinks Early College will mean assignments due in class before the first week of class is over, something that might prove challenging for some students.
"I believe that college classes will be harder than high school classes," academy student Anna Ahn, a senior from Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, said in an email to The Times.
"I know it would be very difficult for me to go on as an international student, but I would love to head on and try my best to get splendid results."
The academy students will be fully immersed in their Early College program from the start, beginning with the university's orientation.
"We debated this, honestly, particularly for this group, because since they're returning students, they know where stuff is," Applebee said.
"We decided in the end really to help them feel they were truly going to be integrated into the university. ... It helps them transition from the high school mentality to the college mentality."
The schedules for academy girls will be more structured than a regular college and less so than a normal high school, Applebee said. Ahn, for example, wants to take a psychology course.
"Depending on how many credits they had this year, they might have a little more flexibility to choose other electives," she said.
"Most of what the girls are taking is the same. They may not all be in the same section, but they'll mostly be taking the same class."
Also available to academy students are university clubs and amenities. The only things they cannot participate in are intercollegiate athletics and Greek life.
Other than "normal increases" in fees, academy students will not have to pay additional tuition for Early College, Applebee said. A limited amount of financial aid is available from the academy and from portions of the HOPE scholarship reserved for dual-enrolled students.
Applebee said she is looking forward to the girls coming back, even if it is a few weeks later than usual.
"This is awesome for us for our girls to be able to participate in these programs," she said. "It just fits in beautifully with what we do."