When it comes to setting yourself up for professional success, that begins by investing in an enriching and worthwhile education. Especially for those that wish to pursue a college degree, the courses they take largely shape their educational futures. A concept that has only grown in popularity amongst high schoolers is researching dual enrollment options through their school. As a fairly simple way to get a jump start on a college education, dual enrollment courses prepare students not only for their collegiate futures but also for setting professional goals.
In this article, we’ll discuss what dual enrollment means and the benefits of choosing one of these rigorous yet worthwhile programs. We’ll also cover how interested students can learn more about dual enrollment opportunities to take the first step toward their educational futures.
What is Dual Enrollment?
Dual enrollment is when a student takes classes at two distinct academic institutions. Dual enrollment programs, also known as concurrent enrollment programs, are usually attended by the student between school districts and academic institutions such as a college or university. This effectively leads to high school students being able to earn college credit years before their first year of college, giving them a substantial head start toward one day earning their degree.
What’s Dual Enrollment in High School?
Dual enrollment in high school is the most common process for those interested in this type of program. In many cases, dual enrollment programs are even referred to as “early college programs” because they’re most often taken by high school students.
How Does Dual Enrollment Work?
While dual enrollment is simple enough to define, understanding how a dual enrollment program works is crucial in deciding if this is an intelligent move for an aspiring college student. Many dual enrollment programs boast rigorous workloads, so the decision to enroll in one of these programs is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Dual enrollment programs vary depending on the state, with different requirements for each, so make sure to research local options before committing to going down this educational path. Generally speaking, they allow students who pass the course to earn high school and college credit which can potentially be applied to a degree of the student’s choosing later on.
Those who choose to enroll in a dual enrollment program are doing so for a few major reasons: to get ahead of their college education, to strengthen future college applications, and to take courses that are not available at their high school but count for high school credit. Depending on the student’s location, high schoolers will begin by speaking with their school administrators about qualifications and eligibility. Dual enrollment programs are uniquely financed depending on the program but are usually either covered by the high school as a part of a preexisting program or independently funded out of the student’s pocket or negotiated between the two academic institutions, Dual enrollment courses may be taken in-person, but online programs have only increased in popularity with the advancement of remote learning. The most common places for students to take dual enrollment courses are at their high school, online, or a nearby community college.
Benefits of Dual Enrollment Classes
Every student’s academic journey is unique, but anyone interested in one day attending college should under the options they have available. There are many benefits to choosing to enroll in a dual enrollment program, so students should invest in understanding the meaning of dual enrollment. Let’s explore some of the most notable advantages of choosing to enroll in dual enrollment classes.
- Students can instantly gain insight into what a full schedule of college courses entails, allowing higher schoolers a much easier acclimation period.
- Students can take exciting or more challenging courses that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
- High schoolers without access to AP or IB classes can still take courses eligible for college credit.
- As a result of increased online programs, many students can take part in a dual-enrollment program from their high school.
- Students can take courses within their potential career interests and more easily change majors once in school due to prior exposure to that field.
- Students can earn college credits early enough to lead to getting their degree quicker than other students in their class.
Dual Enrollment Requirements
The requirements for dual enrollment programs vary based on the student’s state, so interested students should always research their state’s requirements and eligibility factors. Generally speaking, most states allow students to take dual enrollment courses toward the end of their high school experience, and many high schools tend to offer dual credit options (such as AP and IB courses) instead of dual enrollment programs. Certain states require that a student has a high enough GPA to apply. Some of the most common requirements and items of eligibility include:
- Student GPA
- Written Recommendation from a high school or college administrator
- Parental Permission
- ACT or SAT Scores
- Course Prerequisite or Placement Information
- College-Specific Admission Criteria
Dual Enrollment vs AP – Which Is Better for College?
It’s fairly common for high school students to get dual-enrollment and dual-credit options confused, as they both offer students the chance to potentially earn college credit that can be applied to their degree. Outside of this similarity, they couldn’t be more different in terms of the curriculum and experience for the student. Every student’s preferences are different, so it’s hard to determine which is “better” for college, so let’s explore a few elements of dual enrollment vs. AP debates.
Dual-credit classes, such as Advanced Placement classes, are courses taught by high school teachers within a high school environment while dual-enrollment courses are taken online or at a nearby campus. AP courses take a school year to complete and conclude in an exam that the student will pay $95 to take, with test results determining college credit eligibility. Dual-enrollment classes can cost up to $400 depending on the location and last only one semester, with a credit earned if the student passes the course.
The only other similarity between the two is that a passing grade in these courses doesn’t necessarily mean that a college will accept a dual-enrollment or dual-credit course as eligible college credit. That’s why it’s crucial for students with these early college credits to apply to colleges that will accept these credits within a degree program. This is the only way students can ensure that all the hard work they put in premeditatedly doesn’t go to waste down the road.
Does Dual Enrollment Look Good on College Applications?
It’s natural for a student that is interested in learning what dual enrollment means to have a desire to one day apply to college and take part in an enriching degree program. College application season can be a stressful time, so taking steps to strengthen an application and portfolio is a great way to properly set yourself up for success by attending a reputable school. Studies show that students that enter college with existing college credit double their probability of remaining in school and completing their degree.
While dual-enrollment credits may or may not be accepted by a future college, they undoubtedly prove that the applicant has a strong ability to multi-task and challenge themselves within a diverse workload. Dual-enrollment students indicate a hunger for knowledge that they can’t help but pursue, with college credit being an aspiration that only furthers their quest for education. So whether a college accepts these credits or not, there is no denying the hard work and perseverance that pops out within an application that showcases a history of dual enrollment.
How to Get Started with Dual Enrollment Courses
By understanding the definition of dual enrollment as well as the benefits and requirements of enrolling in a dual-enrollment program students can more effectively prepare for their academic futures. Having a fulfilled education is all about using available resources, and getting a head start on the college experience by taking a few dual enrollment courses can be a lucrative and intelligent choice. Especially with the amount of online dual enrollment programs that have become popular in recent years, it’s never been easier to start earning a degree early. To begin, students should express interest to a teacher or counselor, and begin researching potential colleges that offer dual-enrollment opportunities.
Ready to take the next steps toward learning more about dual enrollment programs? Explore Bible College Online’s online degree programs to find reputable schools and earn college credit from an accredited college of your choice in the comfort of your high school or home. Research which dual-enrollment programs are best for your academic journey by viewing Bible College Online’s recommended colleges. Take our helpful quiz below to get started today!