Want to hear something totally crazy? You can earn a college degree… IN HIGH SCHOOL. What! Yes. It’s called Dual Enrolment— an awesome way for you to save time and money while getting a headstart on your college career.
If you are interested to learn more about this exciting program, we suggest that you read this guide from beginning to end. We covered some of the most frequently asked questions about Dual Enrolment that can serve as your starting point in your application.
What is Dual Enrollment?
Dual Enrollment, Concurrent Classes, Special Admissions… whatever name they’re given, they’re Dual Credit courses offered by a student’s High School and partnering college that count toward both the student’s High School Diploma and their college credits. (Hence the “Dual”) Basically, you will take two classes in one.
Another good thing about choosing Dual Enrolment is that you may also earn a career certificate or an industry certification. This is beneficial if you are planning to take a gap year and work because this looks good in your resume.
Why Should You Enroll in Dual Credit Courses?
Isn’t Dual Enrollment just another reason for schools to ask for money? Actually, if you take Dual Credit courses, it will save your parents money. Think about it — they are paying for you to take essentially the same class in both high school and college.
Let’s say that you’re going to earn yourself an Associate’s Degree through your Dual Enrollment. A standard Associate’s Degree in the U.S. requires 60 credit hours total. That’s exactly half the credits of a Bachelor’s Degree, the typical 4-year college degree requiring 120 credits.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Dual Courses is saving time re-taking college classes that you already took in High School and making room for other classes that are specific to your major. Especially since the majority of students will change their major at least once throughout their High School career, normally setting them back a year or more.
Is Dual Enrollment Difficult?
If you decide to apply for Dual Enrolment courses, you typically have to take 12 college credit hours per semester. That’s the maximum limit that students in high school can enroll in. We cannot say for sure whether you’ll find dual courses difficult because it still depends on your time management skills and the way you manage academic tasks. But if you are driven and you are really motivated to save time and money, you’ll find dual courses a breeze to accomplish. You’ll also gain friends and you can create study groups to make this a lot easier.
Who is Eligible for Dual Enrollment Courses?
Students who are eligible for Dual Enrollment vary for each state. But generally, here’s how you can be eligible:
- You must be at least 16 years old
- You’re a high school sophomore, junior, or senior
- You have a 2.5 to 3.0 GPA
- You score on initial placement exams are high
- It is evident from your high school performance that you can succeed in college
- You gained permission from your parent or guardian
- You asked for the permission of your principal and guidance counselor
What are the Requirements for Dual Enrollment?
Requirements for Dual Enrollment vary from state to state. But I dug up this nifty document that can give you specifics on any state in the US.
Who Finances Dual Enrollment?
You may be wondering who finances Dual Enrollments. Well, it still depends on the State where you live whether they will pay for their classes or you will finance your own education. There are times where the partnering institutions decide who will shoulder the fee. You will be asked to pay an initial amount but this will be refunded after you have successfully completed the program.
What if You Do Not Have the Required GPA?
There are instances where students who did not pass the GPA requirement are admitted to the Dual Enrolment program. This is because it is still the institution’s discretion whether they are going to make an exemption on their articulation agreement. If you are really an exceptional student but you fail to achieve the required GPA due to personal reasons, you may still be considered as long as the school principal as well as the guidance counselor strongly recommended you.
What Courses Can You Take Through Dual Enrollment?
The list of courses offered for students through this program is very exhaustive. It is updated annually and approved by the State Board of Education. This is done to ensure that the courses satisfy the subject area requirements of students for their high school graduation.
Below are some of the websites you can access for a sample list of courses:
Here are some of the sample courses you can take in Dual Enrollment:
- Survey of American Literature
- Introduction to American Folklore
- Colonial to The Civil War/Reconstruction
- Colonial to 1875
- Civil War to Present
- 1875 to Present
- Reconstruction/1900 to Present
- Contemporary American Literature
- Contemporary American Literature
- Survey of American Literature
FOREIGN (WORLD) LANGUAGES
- Intermediate Reading and Conversation
- Interm Reading and Conversation II
- Reading in French Literature & Culture
- Intermediate French Reading II
- Intermediate Conversation I
- Intermediate French Conversation II
- Elementary German I
- Elementary German II
- Elementary Conversational German
- Advanced Multivariable Calculus I 1.0
- College Algebra (GE Core) 1.0 Mathematics
- Combined College Algebra/Pre-Calculus 1.0
- College Algebra II 1.0
- Trigonometry 1.0
- College Algebra and Trig. II 1.0
- Precalculus Algebra 1.0
- Precalculus Math
- Precalculus Algebra/Trigonometry
- Calculus for Architecture I
- Calculus for Business & Soc. Science I
- Calculus for Business & Soc. Science II
When and Where Do You Study Dual Enrollment Courses?
Where are my keys? Where is the remote? WHERE IS WALDO? We may never know these things. The location for your Dual Credit courses, however, can vary. The state ultimately determines what is allowed.
Places Dual Credit courses are typically offered:
- High School campuses
- College campuses
- Another location that has been approved for the course
- Online Platform
What Colleges Accept Dual Credits?
OK, so I’ll admit, not everybody is on the Dual Credit wagon just yet. By “not everybody”, I mean the Ivy Leagues. But there are plenty of Public Universities who will accept your Dual Credits! Checl with you dream college about wether they offer this program.
Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment
- It will give you an idea on how college works. Also, you will get used to the academic demand of your courses which is a good preparation when you really enter college.
- You take classes that are not offered in your high school.
- You’ll learn what is your area of interest since you will be able to take several classes.
- This is a good alternative if you weren’t able to take AP classes. Taking Dual Courses looks good on your college application.
- It can be conducted in your high school so it is easily accessible.
- Some college courses may interfere with your child’s coursework and extracurriculars.
- If your child take up a dual course in music and she is planning to take chemistry in college, he won’t be able to gain that much.
- The grade you will get will go in your permanent record so you should really put your best feet forward.
What’s This About Earning a Degree?
We sat down with Erin, a woman who received her Associates of the Arts degree from Rio Salado College on May 5th, 2015. She is already a college graduate before she’s even graduated High School. We also talked to her parents, Denise and Patrick, about how this was possible.
Q1: How did you hear about Dual Enrollment?
“They weren’t available, obviously, when we were in High School.” – Patrick
Erin’s parents first heard about Dual Enrollment from Erin’s older cousin Stacey. Back then, Patrick says, the school was only offering “a little over 12 to 15 credit hours.” However, Xavier in particular has increased the amount of dual credit hours yearly.
“Each year it has expanded and expanded,” Denise says, “Pat’s joked around about there one day being a Xavier graduation where you get your ‘Thank you’, you go down the line and you get your college degree too… it’s awesome.”
Q2: How was the process overall?
“I started doing dual enrollment my sophomore year,” says Erin, “I didn’t really know to what extent it would help. I just knew that I have to pay for college and my parents offered to pay for Rio Salado, which was the same college credit. I decided to take advantage of that and get as much of that credit as I could…I knew it would help me in the long run.”
Erin and her mom explained that originally, the principal of her High School arranged a meeting for all the students that could qualify for earning the degree.
“They pulled them aside, told them what they would need and what additional, online, out-of-Xavier classes they would need to complete to get their degree.” – Denise
At the meeting, Xavier gave the students access to the email of a Rio Salado counselor, and the students were encouraged to get in contact if they were interested.
“He ended up coming by for I think probably a solid week at Xavier, just talking to different girls who came in and had questions. So we really made good contact with him there.” – Erin
Q3: Were there any challenges in earning your degree?
Erin was a working student. For her degree, she took 2 additional online classes outside of her dual credit courses. Her parents and her explained that the biggest challenge of all was Time Management.
“I took an extra day off of work, so I don’t work on Tuesdays. I normally try to get it [her homework] done on Tuesdays, otherwise I do it Friday night or Saturday.”
Erin is also a great example of what being organized can mean for a student’s academic success.
“I’m a list person, so I make lists every single day of what I need to get done that day and then add extra stuff to the list of things I’d like to get done that day. I have boxes for if they’re half done, if they’re fully done, if I don’t need to do them today…”
Q4: Were your dual credit courses more difficult than your regular classes?
“The CIS course seemed to take a little more effort for her and maybe was a little more stressful, which in my eyes was a good thing because it meant that she was actually applying herself and studying.” – Patrick
Erin also opted to take her CIS class over the summer so that she could receive dual credit for it. Courses that don’t meet the Dual Enrollment curriculum can be modified to count as college credits. She explained that time management came into more play then than it did during the school year, because summer was accompanied by extra hours at her job and time with friends.
“It’s easier to just go from homework to homework, but when you have the whole day you really have to set that time aside.”
Q5: How does it feel to have earned a College degree before graduating High School?
“It feels good. Aside from just the accomplishment of being a college graduate before a High School graduate, it’s going to help because it’ll definitely add to my resume. Academically I’m going in [to college] as a Junior next year and it’s gotten rid of all my electives and English classes and what not. Purely looking just at hours and not at classes, I am halfway through my college career. I’ve got my classes next year and it’s all just related to my field so it’s kind of nice to just delve into that aspect of it.”
Q6: Did taking Dual Credits help you decide what major you wanted?
“I was looking for classes that offered Rio Salado so that pushed me to get to different classes than I thought I would. I took more classes that interested me and were also for Rio Salado like astronomy, and taking the CIS class especially helped me want to go into Computer Systems Engineering.”
Q7: As parents, what was the majority of your involvement in the process?
“It was really easy. Just helping her sign up for her classes, finding which classes were available, and assisting her financially. Also, stressing the huge opportunity that the program afforded her, while the other kids and their parents didn’t really see the value of the dual enrollment process. However, I’ve heard from a lot of parents and kids that they regret not doing it.” – Patrick
Q8: You said that other parents and kids have expressed regrets to you about not doing the same thing, what is some of what you’ve heard?
“I’ve heard from a lot of kids that were able to get their Associate’s degree but decided that it wouldn’t work for one reason or another, so they didn’t do it and after learning that it wouldn’t affect scholarships, and learning that their next college would accept the credit if they had the degree, they regretted not doing it.” – Erin
“I think that’s the information out there. I just think a lot of people think it’s too good to be true… Another huge opportunity is that by getting those basic classes out of the way it allows you to pick up another degree at the university.” – Patrick
Q9: What would you recommend to students and parents considering Dual Enrollment?
Erin’s father says that he “recommends it highly for the serious student.”
“For the student that excels in school. The last thing you want to do is place more stress on someone, so it’s not for everybody, but if the student excels, it’s a great opportunity for them.”
What does Erin have to say about it?
“Definitely do it. What is it – like a 10th of the cost of a regular college class? It’s the same credit, and even if your school doesn’t accept the credit, if you get enough to get a degree then it kind of forces them to accept it. It’s a good way to get credit for things that you’re doing anyway… It’ll look good to employers as well.” – Erin
Dual Credit courses can offer your student the chance to get ahead in their college career and possibly even earn an Associate’s Degree before graduating from High School. To review, here are the things we discussed in this article:
- Dual Enrollment means you’re taking Dual Credit courses offered by a student’s High School and partnering college that count toward BOTH the student’s High School Diploma and their college credits.
- Your Dual Enrollment requirements depend on the state you are in
- Dual Credit courses are typically offered on High School campuses, college campuses, and sometimes at another location that has been approved for the course.
- Dual Enrollment saves you and your student time and money on courses they would re-take in college
- With the help of Dual Enrollment, your student may be able to earn an Associate’s Degree before graduating High School
Know anyone who has benefited from taking Dual Credit courses? Tell us in the comments below!
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