VALDOSTA – While many of his peers are entering high school, 14-year-old Fisher Lee is tackling college.
Fisher is Valdosta State University's youngest current student and is taking on a course load of five classes with his mother, Knicole, cheering him on every step of the way.
“We wanted to promote his academic rigor and his ability to explore higher education sooner,” Knicole said. “We live in such a rural area and this is a win-win.”
Fisher and his family live in Baxley, a rural community, and was encouraged to take the ACT at the end of his eighth-grade year.
Based on his scores, he enrolled at VSU, which happens to be Knicole's alma mater.
“I feel very fortunate to have this type of advancement,” Fisher said. “It'll enable me to find a job at a younger age.”
For now, Fisher is unsure what he'd like to be in the future, but still has plenty of years to figure it out. He's majoring in organizational leadership and is considering a future in either business or medicine.
So far, all of his classes have been online. He certainly draws some attention when in group chats. He may be asked about his age but he hasn't seen any issues from it.
“In my experience, I've found the college to be very welcoming and if you can do it (dual enrollment) you should,” Fisher said.
Ryan Hogan, VSU director of admissions, said dual enrollment is an important program.
“It's an excellent way to satisfy high school credits and at the same time get an advantage on the college experience,” Hogan said. “The wonderful thing about dual enrollment is it's not restricted to just being on campus.”
For students who are able to qualify for funding, it can also be a money-saving measure for some families.
“The funding is a great benefit for families because they can get a jump start on college,” Hogan said. “They can start getting exposed to those areas they are thinking about and can start taking classes in those areas.”
Fisher Lee hopes as time progresses, others will follow his lead and start college at a younger age so they too can take advantage of the advancement opportunities it provides.