College Now program gives Lincolnton High grad a head start

When Emilee Reynolds graduates from Lincolnton High School in early June, she will already have earned an associate degree from Gaston College. She got this head start to a four-year degree through the College Now program at Gaston College, which allowed her to take tuition-free classes while also attending high school. 
“I decided to take this route for my associate degree because I wanted to get the basic classes for a bachelor’s degree before leaving high school,” Reynolds said. “This will get me right into the classes I’ll need for my biology major when I start at UNC-Charlotte in the fall.” After UNCC, she plans to attend medical school to become a doctor. 
Reynolds has enjoyed being a student at Gaston College, and appreciates the student services, like the writing center, that have helped her succeed. The COVID pandemic and her high school schedule prevented her from attending classes on campus, but she was able to take one in-person class taught by a Gaston College instructor at Lincolnton High School. “I loved this class, and it has been a wonderful change from online classes,” she said. 
Kayda Carmichael, the Gaston College Career Coach who works with Lincoln County Schools, was especially helpful to Reynolds. “Emilee is a hard-working and dedicated student who went above and beyond her high school requirements by graduating with an Associate in Arts degree,” said Carmichael. “This is no easy task and takes tremendous self-discipline and determination. I have no doubt that Emilee will continue to achieve great success throughout her educational journey and will truly make a remarkable impact in this world.” 
The dual-enrollment program was a challenge that Reynolds is proud to have met, and she recommends College Now to other students. “Taking college classes in high school is not an easy task, but it is so rewarding,” she said. “There will be times when the classes seem too difficult, but use the resources provided to you and lean on the support from your high school. I have never felt as accomplished as finishing high school with my associate degree. I can’t recommend getting ahead of the game with higher education enough. You will never regret furthering your education.”  

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