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The College Competition Is On

MIAMI (CBS4) - Millions of students enroll in college every year and the competition to get in gets tougher each semester.  This has driven students to excel in high school at any and every cost.

However, some may feel like the pressure to go to college is too much.

Ashlee Perez made sure to stand out among her peers.  She is 19-years old and a graduate of high school and college.

"I graduated college before I graduated high school. I graduated April of 2012 and then I graduated high school in June 2012," said Perez.

How'd she do it? Dual enrollment.

"You go to high school during the day and throughout the afternoon or night time, whenever the college schedule fits, you attend college classes," said Perez.

Perez graduated from Doral Academy Prep with an Associate's Degree from Miami-Dade College.

"As soon as I saw that you could take college classes in high school I had to take advantage of it because its two years you get ahead," said Perez.

High school students that think just like Ashlee get ahead to get in college.

"I think students need to understand that we are looking at grades from grade 9-12 and they need to focus on their grades in order to do the best job that they can in order to get into the colleges they're applying to," said Ed Gillis a gatekeeper for the University of Miami and also the Dean of Admissions.

Many students try to stay ahead of the pack, application numbers are at all-time highs and acceptance rates are at all-time lows.

The University of Florida had a record 29,300 applicants last year and 11,800 were accepted.  An even smaller ration was accepted at the University of Miami.

"This year we have about 28,800 students who have applied for those same 2,000 seats," said Gillis.

So with so few applicants getting into the universities of their choice what should high school students do to stand out?

Miami-Dade College enrollment director Dr. Rene Garcia said high school is when you get your chance to shine.

"The best thing you can do is take the hardest classes you can tolerate in high school," said Dr. Garcia. "Avoid underwater basket weaving and take an extra science and math class."

Perez advised high school students to be prepared to put in the time now and you'll get that time back in the future.

"I have these whole extra two years to fall back on, taking my LSAT or applying to Law School, I'm two years ahead of the game, so it's like I can do anything," said Perez. "I can take a year off and I will still be a year ahead of everyone else."

Dr. Garcia cautions students to make sure that they only take on classes that they can handle. If students have a number of AP classes in their curriculum and don't make the grades, it won't matter.


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