Since the early 1980s, the Office of Academic Affairs at Grambling State University has hosted the High Ability program affording rising high school seniors who have shown academic excellence throughout their high school years, the opportunity to receive college credit.
For five weeks, seniors from all over attend High Ability. The program, which started on June 23 continues through to July 26.
The eligibility requirements are rising high school seniors with an ACT score of 20 or higher, a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher, an official transcript of at least four and a half semesters, and a 150-word essay describing their career goals.
“High Ability is a program designed to acknowledge achievements of high school juniors based on their grade point average and other curricular activities where they come to Grambling to receive enrichment,” Dr. Danny Hubbard, who has been affiliated with the High Ability for over thirteen years, said.
“That enrichment includes six college credit hours, which includes a science enrichment and we want to give them the influence to look at potential future careers, and enough understanding about those careers so as they are finishing high school, they’ll go that next step, which is to attend college,” Hubbard said.
The second course is selected by the student from a number of areas, including photography, computer information systems, and theatre.
“The number of 25 students, which is how many that we try to recruit, is from anywhere,” Dr. Jacqueline Harris, who is going into her second year as director over High Ability, said. “We have quite a few that are from Alabama, Texas, and California.”
The high school students also make the adjustment to college-level coursework.
“I had to stay focused on what’s on task, and you can’t play and think that you’re going to get far in college,” Jamal Hill, a program participant from Arcadia, said.
“I might have not had the best start in the beginning, but these people [in High Ability], have started to grow on me, and I’m learning a lot of things, a lot of life skills,” Veyonce Fisher, a rising senior from Ruston, said.
Fisher said that she’s learned a lot about the importance of responsibility.
“I’ve learned how to handle stuff on my own since my parents are not here,” Fisher said. “I’ve learned to look after myself and this has really been an eye-opening experience, it may not be the full college experience but I do recommend this to certain people, but it’s not for everybody.”
Fisher also said Grambling State University is on her list of potential colleges.
According to Hubbard, 10 to 20 percent of High Ability participants enroll in Grambling the following year.