NWFSC students get a head start on college

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 07:54 PM.

It's important to note that the AA degree is not guaranteed. Students have to work extra hard to make sure their senior year is a success.

"They have to worry about three things," Schrader said. "They're preparing for their high school diploma, their associate's degree and then deciding where they want to continue their education."

As coordinator, it is Schrader's job to make sure students receive their diploma and degree. He guides them, befriends them and makes himself available for any questions. After 13 years and two of his own children graduating from the program, he is well-equipped with the tools to help future collegiate co-eds. He has prepared students go on to attend prestigious universities such as: Duke, Emory and Notre Dame.

On average, 80 percent of collegiate high school students earn their AA, Schrader said. While they still earned their high school diploma, those 20 percent go back to NWFSC in the summer and fall terms to finish.

Recent graduate and Santa Rosa Beach resident, Chase Lee, heard about the Collegiate High School through a teacher. Without even stepping foot in high school — Lee had already skipped ninth grade — he entered in the program.  At 16-years-old, he is ready to head to University of Florida in the fall as junior. What he enjoyed most about his time at NWFSC was the freedom.

"You're free to choose what you want to do," he said. "Students are treated like adults."

"It's basically preparing you for college," said 16-year-old Skye Coetzee. "You have to be academically responsible. They don't expect you to act like kids and be told what to do."

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