Getting Ahead with Dual Enrollment

By Coach Sara   “Intellectually curious,” “globally minded,” “engaged in the community” – if you’re a high school student in the midst of college research, you’ve probably seen colleges use all kinds of phrases to describe their ideal student. But as you browse through their websites, you’ll start to find a common thread running through all the descriptions: they’re all looking for students who have proven they’re ready to take on college-level academics. And what better way for you to prove your readiness than to take some college classes while you’re still in high school?   Classes that fulfill a high school graduation requirement while also earning you college credit are called dual-enrollment or dual-credit classes. These are classes that are taught by a college professor, often on a college campus. However, sometimes your high school might have a professor come to your campus to teach the class, and in some cases the class may even be taught by one of the teachers at your high school.   Regardless of the format it’s taught in, the end result is the same – you will receive credit from a college or university once you have successfully completed the class. This is what sets dual enrollment apart from classes such as AP or IB where you must take an exam to earn credit. Also, it is up to the college you ultimately attend whether or not they will grant credit based on your AP or IB exam score. With a dual-enrollment class, you will receive a transcript from the college or university that administered the class. When you submit the transcripts to the college you decide to attend, they will evaluate it just like any other college transcript to determine what transfer credit you will be able to receive.   This is another reason why dual enrollment is a great option. The classes are often offered by community colleges or other colleges with very low tuition costs. If you are able to earn credits that will count towards your eventual degree, you may be lowering the total cost of your college education! In some parts of the country, there are even programs which allow high school students to take enough dual-enrollment classes to complete an associate’s degree by the time they graduate from high school. Since an associate’s degree is usually the equivalent of about two years of college education, this can really save students both time and money.   Even if your high school does not already have a dual-enrollment program in place, you can meet with your guidance counselor to determine your high school’s policy on allowing dual enrollment. When selecting what classes to take through dual enrollment, keep in mind the difficulty level of a college course. What subjects will you be able to handle more difficult work in? You should also think ahead to how the classes might fit into your future degree program. General education courses, your English 101 or Basic Math, are usually the easiest ones to transfer. Other great classes to consider are foreign language, fine arts, or basic computer science classes that might fulfill a core requirement of your future degree. If you already have a specific major in mind, you might even consider taking a lower-level class in that major as a way to try it out.   When reviewing your application, admissions officers are looking to see that you challenged yourself in high school. Dual enrollment is a great way to do just that while potentially getting a head start on your college degree. If you’re a CAA client considering signing up for dual enrollment, give your coaches a call to discuss your options!