Should We Have a Dual-Enrolled Valedictorian?

Without fail, every single year, graduation time comes around and so does this debate. Should a dual enrolled student be allowed to walk the aisle as valedictorian or salutatorian?


Without fail, every single year, graduation time comes around and so does this debate. Should a dual enrolled student be allowed to walk the aisle as valedictorian or salutatorian?

Ramya Raja, News Editor

There are plenty of topics and educational issues that are under constant debate and deliberation. But one of the most consistently controversial and heated debates that surfaces every year amongst the parents and students of North Forsyth High School is this: whether a dual enrollment student should be allowed to be valedictorian and/or salutatorian. Parents and students who are not involved in the dual enrollment program are outraged that dual enrolled students have an unfair advantage. However, those involved with the move on when ready (MOWR) dual enrollment program argue that the work they put into their academic coursework justifies any unfairness.

When a student is dual enrolled, it means they are enrolled in a local college or university (Lanier Technical College or University of North Georgia) and enrolled at North Forsyth High School. Students have two possible ways of being involved in this program: they can either be part-time or full-time dual enrolled. Being part-time dual enrolled means while students are taking classes at the collegiate level, they are also taking at least one class at the high school. Being full-time dual enrolled means students are not taking any classes at the high school and are achieving all of their high school requirements through the college or university.

The first and most common misconception about dual enrollment students is when they are allowed to be the top rank in their class. Only part-time dual enrolled students are able to qualify. Full-time dual enrollment students are not allowed to be valedictorian or salutatorian. Therefore, when angry parents and students complain the valedictorians and salutatorians have never been seen at school, that is actually impossible.

The main reason people believe MOWR students have an unfair advantage is because their classes are only semester-long, as are all college courses.  Dual enrolled students receive a year-long high school credit for that semester-long course. Also, college courses carry the weight of an AP class; therefore an ‘A’ would be equivalent to a ‘5’ in terms of GPA. Thus enabling MOWR students to take more courses and boost their GPA significantly, over a shorter period of time. These students often take 4-5 college courses a semester along with their high school classes, if they have them.

On the flip side of things, normally enrolled high school students are outraged they do not have the opportunity to bring up their GPA as significantly or quickly compared to students who are dual enrolled. And this is completely understandable, however, they also need to consider other aspects of dual enrollment students’ lives:

  1. They are taking college courses and the likelihood of them making all A’s all the time is very low.
  2. Even with college classes bringing their GPA up, if students are part-time dual enrolled, there are also high school classes bringing that GPA down. Most MOWR students don’t want to take both college classes and AP classes, so they will take on-level classes at the high school without any GPA weight.
  3. College classes are harder than high school courses and professors do not teach like high school teachers. Students are responsible for a large part of their own learning.

   Also, it is not impossible for a regularly enrolled high school students to be at the top of the class. Students have several opportunities to take extra classes over the summer (like many dual enrollment students do) and during the school year through Georgia Virtual, an online learning option for students.

With graduation only a few months away, this debate will undoubtedly rise again. Hopefully, then parents and students of the senior class of 2019 will be more informed about both sides of this argument.


Disclaimer: The author of this argument is a part-time dual enrollment student who is currently predicted to be the class of 2019 salutatorian.

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