FDA student first in county to enroll in online UA program

Published 5:58 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

A Fort Dale Academy junior, Taylor Autrey, is the first student in Butler County to enroll in the University of Alabama’s new Early College Program.

UA Early College allows qualified high school students the chance to earn college credits online.

Taylor’s mother, Julie Autrey, found out about the program on the UA website and signed her daughter up, says Taylor.

Email newsletter signup

Students start off with a Gateway Session with a parent either online or on the UA campus, going on to complete their first UA Early College course, UAEC 200.

“The Gateway Session lets the school see if you qualify to take courses on a university level, and I did. The UAEC 200 Gateway Course helps you learn how to be a successful college student, through developing skills in areas like time management, research and writing,” explained Taylor.

Completion of the Gateway Course earned her two credit hours. On January 11, Taylor began her first general education course online in Human Development.

“It’s going well, but it is challenging. There is a lot of work to do,” she admitted.

The FDA junior will complete her first course in late April, and plans to take one course each term for the rest of her high school career, including during the summer. Taylor should have 18 credit hours under her belt by the time she dons her cap and gown at FDA.

While she isn’t certain yet what major she will pursue, Taylor said she is strongly considering Sports Medicine as a career.

The Early College Program at UA offers high school students, beginning in the second semester of their sophomore year, the opportunity to earn up to 30 credit hours online.

The credits transfer to the majority of colleges and universities across the nation.

The costs for the online courses is a fraction of what on-campus courses would cost, says William Davis of the UA Alumni Association in Butler County.

“We also have scholarship monies available to help cut the costs of the courses for students,” Davis said.

“It’s a great program in that it lets high school students get a head start on earning college credit while doing it all online, and they get to connect with students from all over the world while doing it. And a student who successfully completes the Early College Program will automatically be accepted at Alabama.”

Davis said the online courses give students a real taste of what college coursework is like before they get there.

“The students learn what is expected of them through a very demanding program, and parents learn their kids are capable of doing the work, which is a relief to them,” Davis said.

“It is a great program for kids who are self-motivated. We started by talking with counselors at Fort Dale and we are looking to get students from across the county involved in this program.”

A variety of freshman courses are offered through Early College, including Anthropology, Art History, Japanese, Human Development, Psychology, Computer Science, Western Civilization, Math, Science and English.

First spring application deadline is Feb. 8, with additional deadlines in March and April. For more information on UA Early College, visit http://uaearlycollege.ua.edu/

Taylor Autrey