Freshman Serena Wong knows exactly which professor she’ll take for biology: Professor Hartmut Dobel. Not because of RateMyProfessor.com and not because of recommendations from older students. Wong knows which biology professor is best for her because she has already had him as a teacher at GW for introduction to biology.
Wong, a recent graduate of the School Without Walls high school, has also taken GW’s introduction to psychology and introduction to Web page design, all before receiving her high school diploma.
SWW, located on G Street between 21st and 22nd streets, has partnered with GW for more than two decades to allow high school students to enroll in college level classes. Now Wong, a recipient of the Trachtenberg Scholarship, which awards selected D.C. public school students a full scholarship to the University, won’t be stepping far off the grounds of her high school to get to class on the first day of college. The experience allows high school students, typically shocked at the enormity of a university, to have a sneak peak at collegiate life.
Wong, who is considering a major in international business, said most GW students don’t even notice the SWW students in their classes.
“We just sit there and take notes like everyone else,” she said.
As a high school student Wong also enrolled in classes at Georgetown, but said she felt her classes at GW were of a “higher quality.”
Not only has Wong had the opportunity to take GW professors, but her experience has also allowed her to find friends. Wong, who said that she is interested in exploring her Asian heritage by joining cultural fraternities, had the opportunity to attend an Asian student organization event as a high school student.
“Everyone was really nice,” said Wong, who said she has several GW friends on Facebook and is excited to attend the basketball games and join the Colonial Army.
Although Wong is not going to college far from home, she said her freshman housing on the Mount Vernon campus should provide a new experience. Wong’s parents, who live 15 minutes from GW, will also try and keep their distance.
“I’ve told them ‘I’m going to GW, don’t bother me’,” she said.
Like Wong, Marcus Hendricks, another SWW graduate and GW freshman, also took classes at GW during high school. Even though he knew what taking classes were like as a high school student in a college world, he wanted to know GW students’ opinions of the school. So during lunch one day in high school, Hendricks decided to stop by the nearby Marvin Center. He approached a GW student in the cafeteria to find out a little bit more about life in college.
“I just went up and asked them what the school was like for them,” he said.
Like Wong, Hendricks is also a recipient of the Trachtenberg Scholarship.
As an SWW student, Hendricks took an introduction to sociology course and engineering drawing and computer graphics.
“I think that my previous class at GW will help me be a very good freshman student because I’ve been introduced to the rigor of college class,” he said.
This article appeared in the August 30, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.