On an early Tuesday morning at Lenoir-Rhyne University, nearly 30 high school seniors listened intently as Professor Hollis Whalen instructed them to record literary elements from peer presentations during their English IV honors class. The students will earn as many as 18 college credits as members of LRU's High School Scholars Academy (HSSA) by the time they graduate high school in spring of 2018.
During one group presentation, students compared Macbeth to the Dark Knight of the Batman movie and used Kahoot! to administer a quiz to their peers. Kahoot! is a game-based classroom response system used in real time. Multiple-choice questions are projected on the screen, and students answer the questions with their smartphone, tablet, or computer.
According to Briana Sherrill, LRU Enrollment Management Counselor and HSSA Program Coordinator, high school seniors earn college credit to give them an advance start at LRU or another institution after high school graduation.
"High school students are able to earn credits in classes typically taken by college freshmen," Sherrill said. "Research shows that participation in college-level coursework during high school can increase students' exposure and aspirations for postsecondary success. High school students who graduate with university experience are more likely to succeed in higher education."
Former HSSA participant Tanner Lloyd concurred with Sherrill's statement.
"This program offered an opportunity to still have a productive senior year and possibly get ahead looking toward a college education," Lloyd said. "Without a doubt my experience was a huge success. I was able to learn and grow, both academically and personally. It offered a sample of the college environment and the workload, as well as a greater sense of responsibility and independence."
Lloyd is currently a freshman at LRU with a double major in accounting and finance.
He said his experience with the HSSA program influenced his decision to attend LRU.
"Before this program I was certain that I wanted to go to a larger university, but after having the opportunity to be in the smaller class setting, I knew that Lenoir-Rhyne was for me," he said.
Brennon Powers, also a former HSSA participant, is currently studying to become a physician's assistant through LRU's Medical Studies 3+2 program.
"I was looking at Lenoir-Rhyne as a college to visit, as well as Duke, Davidson, and a couple of others," Powers stated. "I was going to use the Scholar's program as a means to beef up my resume but fell in love with the campus after spending a year with the people and professors. Plus, I'm a part of the PA 3+2 program. With my previous credits, I'm able to finish with a master's degree in just over four years."
To learn more about the HSSA program, LRU will host an information session on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. for interested high school juniors and their parents. The session will be held in Room 213 of the McCrorie Center on the LRU campus. No advance registration is required.
HSSA, which began in 2007, is designed for high school students who wish to pursue a more advanced academic program for their senior year of high school. Students selected for the program have the opportunity to enroll in English IV Honors, plus three college classes in the fall, and AP English (or an approved online class based on availability), plus three college classes in the spring.
Admission consideration for HSSA are based on high school GPA, courses taken during high school, SAT, ACT, PSAT, or PLAN scores, and high school or community involvement.
Applications for the 2018-19 school year are due on Feb. 1, 2018. First preference for admission will be given to students enrolled in the Catawba County, Hickory Public, or Newton-Conover school systems. If space is available, the University will also consider students from private schools, homeschools, and other school systems.
For more information, contact Briana Sherrill at email@example.com or 828.328.7426. Additional information about the High School Scholars Academy can be found online at lr.edu/apply.