The demands on the average high school student today are many -- classes, homework, clubs, social activities and part-time jobs. But imagine the demands on a student attending high school and college simultaneously.

For the past 15 years, dozens of seniors in District high schools have been doing just that. Through a program called the High School-College Internship Program (HI-SCIP), these students attend classes at local colleges and earn six to 12 credits a semester -- tuition free -- toward their bachelor's degree.

Doris Trabue, coordinator of the program for the D.C. Public Schools said that besides giving seniors a jump on college, HI-SCIP provides an opportunity for them to take classes that are not offered in the regular high school curriculum, such as the history of photography, Chinese anthropology, engineering graphics or sociology.

When the program began in 1975, HI-SCIP had just 50 participants at three District colleges. Now the program receives almost 150 applications a year, accepting approximately 109 this year. And 12 universities open their doors to HI-SCIP students, including American University and the Corcoran School of Art, which joined the program this year.

Most participants take two college courses a semester.

"HI-SCIP is giving me the opportunity to experience college, to get some course work completed early and really get the background needed for a successful college career," said David Youmans, a Dunbar senior enrolled at Howard University.

To qualify for HI-SCIP, students must have a 3.0 ("B") grade point average, must be District residents and have completed their junior year at a District school. Students may select two schools they would like to attend, however the individual colleges and universities decide who to admit and how many credit hours a student may take.

Rhonda Gladden, a senior at Wilson, for example, named Catholic University as her first choice, but was only accepted at her second choice: Trinity College.

Tuition costs are shared by the participating universities and the District public school system; the students are responsible for all other costs, including normal activity fees, lab fees, health insurance fees and transportation costs to and from the university.

"For the very academically talented students, they can . . . have completed their {college} freshmen year {when they graduate from high school}. They will have saved a year's tuition," Trabue said. "Parents recognize not only the academic importance of this program but also its financial importance."

Still others are attracted to the program simply for the change of pace, such as Rachel Levy, a Wilson senior enrolled at Georgetown University. "I was ready for a change of atmosphere, a new place with new surroundings," she said. "I'm applying to schools with reputations comparable to Georgetown. I wanted to get a sense of what it would be like."

Trabue said it takes more than brains to succeed in the program. She said students must also be independent, committed, intellectually curious and self-motivated. HI-SCIP students, she said, are generally mature and have well-developed social skills, in addition to academic talent.

To date, most participants have come from Wilson High School, the School Without Walls and Banneker High School.

"These are students you know will succeed," said Trabue. "They already have one foot in the door because of the school's they attend. There is special talent out there that needs to be tapped, especially among young black men. I want to raise students' levels of exposure by providing more opportunities for pre-college programs."

In addition to taking classes, HI-SCIP students are encouraged to take advantage of the college experience, attending football games, lectures and concerts on the campus.

Trabue said balancing the extra load sometimes requires some accommodation of class and activities schedules, so HI-SCIP tries to be very flexible, with but one goal: "to try to build success into every student."

These six HI-SCIP students were selected by Doris Trabue, Coordinator of HI-SCIP. High School Honors will periodically report on these students as they pursue their school careers.

L'Qia Barrett, age 17, senior at Cardozo High enrolled at the Corcoran School of Art taking four classes at Cardozo and History of Photography at the Corcoran. Her career plans are undecided.

Clark Aguilar, age 17, senior at Cardozo High enrolled at American University, taking three classes at Cardozo and Sociology at American. He plans a career in engineering or communications. Rhonda Gladden, age 17, senior at Wilson High enrolled at Trinity College, taking four classes at Cardozo and Sociology at Trinity. She plans a career in pediatrics.

David Youmans, age 17, senior at Dunbar High enrolled at Howard University, taking one class at Dunbar and Functions, Chemistry Lab/Lecture, Spanish I and Freshmen English at Howard. He plans a career as a doctor.

Rachel Levey, age 17, senior at Wilson High enrolled at Georgetown University, taking four classes at Dunbar and Sociology at Georgetown. Her career plans are undecided.

Bennie Johnson, age 16, senior at McKinley High enrolled at University of the District of Columbia taking six classes at McKinley and Calculus II and Architecturial Design at UDC. He plans a career in architecture or politics.