EDUCATION

Dual enrolled Oxford student balances high school and college

 

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Emma McCabe
The Oxford Eagle
elmccabe@go.olemiss.edu

Oxford native Alex Long balances duel enrollment at the University of Mississippi and Lafayette High School.

Last year, she was a sophomore who got her driver’s license. However, last spring she learned she was eligible to skip her junior year of high school.

She now attends college and high school classes while making the most of her, unexpectedly, final year at Lafayette.

The University of Mississippi requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and written recommendations in order for a high school student to duel enroll. These students must follow the same attendance policy, class rigor, and behavior as fully-enrolled students at the university.

Long is currently enrolled in Writing 101 and Biology 102 at the University of Mississippi. She spends her mornings at Lafayette before driving down the road for college classes in the afternoon.

She will take two more classes at the university next spring and spend the summer relaxing before officially starting college.

Both of Long’s parents teach at the University of Mississippi, and she has always known she would attend college there. When Long’s brother was duel enrolled at Ole Miss his senior year, she and her mom began to look into her own options.

At the end of her 10th grade year, they realized she would be able to skip a grade and duel enroll. They then began to make it happen.

“Honestly, it wasn’t a big decision,” Long said. “I’ve always looked forward to going to college and meeting new people.”

Skipping a year of school does have it drawbacks. She has to take the ACT again, for starters. Long also has to take the state required history test along with the rest of the juniors, but with only half of the information.

Long is still highly involved in Young Life, a popular Christian organization in Oxford, and enjoys spending time with friends.

“I’ve been with Alex since she was a freshman,” said her Young Life leader, Sarah Heleniak. “It’s been awesome to watch her grow in the context of Young Life, but also as a person and a woman.”

Long has been a member of the group for three years now. This year, she was asked to be a student leader for her peers.

“I love the acceptance Young Life has of all kinds of people,” said Long, who wants to become a Young Life leader in college.

Long said it feels a little strange to graduate early.

“I feel weird that I’ll be missing out on special events with my own class,” she said, but, “It’s definitely worth it.”

The only major event that has felt like a definite ending for Long was quitting club soccer after playing competitive soccer most of her life.

Long was driving over an hour a night, several nights a week, to practice in Memphis. She decided not to pursue playing in college because she wasn’t able to balance soccer, college classes, and regular high school activities.

“I think Alex is very mature for her age,” said Heleniak. “She just has the drive to do well in both aspects in her life right now.”

Adjusting to college life hasn’t been hard for Long. She is very close with her brother, Chris Long, a freshman at the university.

Long enjoys visiting him at his dorm to hang out, study or meet his new friends. Being around college students is nothing new for Long, who often met her father’s students growing up. The transition was very natural.

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Long is known for being kind, fun-loving, and a good friend. Her friends at Lafayette High School are very proud of her, even though they miss her in school.

“Life with Alex is happy and relaxing,” said her best friend, Halle Moore. “She always knows what to say. She’s very smart and loves people. She won’t have a problem at Ole Miss.”

Long said she’s excited about the future.

“I’m really ready to be living in the dorms on campus,” she said.

Moore said she was sad Long was graduating early because they won’t be able to experience senior year with each other. “But she’s not going out of Oxford,” she said. “That makes me feel better.”

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Pictured above Young Life student leaders: Halle Moore, Marissa Harrison, Alex Long, and Abby Davis.

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