News + Events

Students Complete High School Diplomas, College Degrees Simultaneously

Henderson, TN - May 23, 2022

Eleven students, dually enrolled at their high schools and at Freed-Hardeman University, will receive their high school diplomas and their Associate of Arts degrees this spring. The group began taking college courses in Fall 2019 when they were high school sophomores to jumpstart their academic careers.

They are a diverse group. Two of the students are home-schooled. The remaining nine are enrolled in one of the following high schools: Chester County, Hickman County, Gallatin, Bahrain and Round Rock Christian Academy. They live as close as Henderson, Tennessee, and as far away as Bahrain, an island country in Western Asia.

Three students were unable to attend the graduation ceremony Sophie Frerot (Bahrain), Alexis Reed, of Centerville, TN, and Kimberly Jolly (Texas).

Owen Osburn, a Chester County High School senior with enough college hours to be an FHU sophomore, said he chose to pursue a college degree while in high school to better prepare himself for further education. “I definitely feel like I have more experience with college work and with the responsibilities that come with balancing online schoolwork and a job,” he said. 

Opportunities to learn time management have abounded. In his sophomore and junior years of high school, he ran cross country, had a part-time job and took high school and college courses. He admits it was stressful. “But now that I am in my final semester of high school and the end of my second year in college, I am grateful for the opportunity to have completed so many of my college courses and to be so far ahead of where I would have been otherwise.” 

A former barista at Besso’s, a Henderson coffee shop, Osburn now works at Edward Jones as a part-time branch office administrator. “Both positions have given me a lot of good experience and opportunities,” he said. Next on his agenda is completing a major in finance and getting his real estate license during college. “I like to get different experiences to get a feel for different fields of work,” he said.

High school students interested in participating in the dual enrollment program and working toward an associate degree must meet the following criteria: complete the dual-enrollment application, have a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.25 or higher, make at least a 21 on the ACT or SAT equivalent or have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher. In addition, they must submit a proctored essay of 500 or more words and two letters of recommendation related to their academic ability.

Sixty credit hours are required for the degree. These courses, including English composition, literature, history, mathematics, speech, behavioral science, and natural science, along with electives, meet the general education requirements for most universities. Students typically take three or four courses each semester.

This commencement will mark the first time Freed-Hardeman has conferred associate degrees in approximately 50 years. The university eliminated the program in the 1970s when it began offering four-year degrees. Although distance makes it difficult for some of the graduates to attend the commencement ceremony, eight of them plan to receive their degrees in person.

Additional information about the early admission program and dual enrollment is available by contacting Hailey Malone at hmalone@fhu.edu.

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctoral degrees.