Simultaneously, she’s a senior, freshman

Published 12:55 am Thursday, March 28, 2019

UA Early College gave Yanes advantage

When Andalusia High School senior Catherine Yanes walks across the stage to get her high school diploma in May, she’ll already have her freshman year of college behind her.

Catherine the daughter of John and Cheryl Yanes, is also a dual enrollment student at the University of Alabama through its early college program. She completed the program’s six-week prep class beginning in April of her sophomore year, and began classes in August.

Mrs. Yanes said her daughter began exploring the option after hearing a representative from UA speak at an informational event for parents. It has been such a good experience that both Mrs. Yanes and Catherine have been asked to represent the program at other high schools.

The prep class teaches students how to survive in college, including tech etiquette, how to address professors and instructors, and how to navigate online learning platforms.

“It was fabulous,” Mrs. Yanes said. “No matter if you’re going to LBW or Alabama or Harvard, they’re going to have to know these things. Basically, Catherine already has all of that mastered.”

The program also teaches responsibility, she said. There are few chances for earning extra credit, and deadlines are firm.

“If the deadline is 11:59 p.m., you can’t turn in an assignment at 12 a.m.,” she said. “That’s been a good lesson, too.”

Students have to follow a syllabus and find the self-discipline to stick to a timeline.

After taking classes her junior year, Catherine lived on campus for a mini-term last summer. The summer featured life in a dorm, mandatory study halls, and access to all campus amenities.

Catherine completed all of her requirements for high school in the fall semester, and is taking her last class in personal communications from UA this term. Mrs. Yanes said when she speaks to parents about the opportunities afforded by this program, she stresses that while there is a college tuition cost associated with the classes, they still save parents money in the long term.

“If you broke it down, you’re paying tuition, but not activity fees,” she said. “It’s actually less than a community college.

“I told parents if you’re looking at $1,100 for six college credits, and you can space out payments from August to December, you can cover it by eating out a couple of times less each week.”

In addition, students who earn a 3.5 grade point average can earn a 50 percent scholarship. And if they complete 17 credit hours in the program with a 3.5, they are automatically accepted to the University of Alabama without an ACT score required. They also are eligible for preferred housing.

“It really puts you at the head of the class,” Mrs. Yanes said. “You cannot lose.”

Catherine has juggled her classes while also serving as an ambassador for the City of Andalusia, and being active in Anchor Club and the youth group at Christ the King Catholic Church. She recently was inducted into UA’s Phi Sigma Theta Honor Society, a national honor society dedicated to recognizing and rewarding academic achievement in undergraduates at institutions of higher learning. She plans to transfer to the University of Missouri in the fall and enroll in its strategic communications program.

Mrs. Yanes said she suggests that anyone interested in pursuing this option contact UA’s Early College program’s director, Dr. Victoria Whitfield,  or an advisor. The program can be reached at 877-823-8759.