Dual Enrollment: Online vs. On-Campus Classes

High School Student

Oct   2016



Dual enrollment is an amazing thing. It allows middle and high school students to take college classes that will also count for high school credit. For those of you who are interested in dual enrollment, you might be wondering whether to take a class on campus or online. Here are some basic contrasts between commuting and staying home. 

Related: The Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment



These classes typically allow for the most flexibility. Assignments are usually on a weekly basis, and all of the week’s work is due by Sunday evening. Some classes could have earlier due dates though. Last year my classes all had discussions due by Thursday and required two additional posts on separate days by Sunday. With online classes, even if some dates are set in stone, you still have the option of being an early bird or a night owl. For some classes you may even be able to work ahead. This is a great option for students who want to devote more time to working, volunteering, or sports.

On campus

Classes typically meet two to three times a week at a specific time. Although you can still complete homework at any time throughout the day, you have to keep in mind when class is so you can be rested and prepared beforehand. The option of working ahead is more difficult in this setting, as the class is typically expected to progress at the same rate.

Learning methods


Classes have a variety of assignments: quizzes, papers, exercises, presentations, and discussions. Some assignments are group-oriented like discussions and some projects, but the majority are to be completed alone. From what I’ve seen, every class has different requirements and the “final” varies; some classes have papers, others have presentations, and some do have traditional final exams. Online learning is great for independent, self-motivated students. Some classes have videos or live sessions, but the majority do not. For students who learn best by hearing from a teacher, online classes may take an adjustment. 

On campus

Classes also vary by assignments and “final” requirements. The campus setting allows for more surprises like pop quizzes or assignment deadlines that may not have been specified in the syllabus. With online classes, you pretty much know what’s expected week by week and there isn’t much spontaneity. Classes on campus are great for auditory learners. Being able to hear lectures from professors can help you better understand reading materials and quiz content.

Social interaction


Here social interaction typically consists of discussion forums or e-mailing. The online platform is great for students who want to avoid typical classroom distractions.


Physical classrooms allow for much social interaction. Being a high school student in class with college students can be intimidating at first, but it’s a great way to meet new people. And seeing professors and classmates face to face definitely makes the college experience more memorable.

Commuting to campus or taking classes online are both great ways to get a jump-start on your college education. If you’ve already experienced dual enrollment classes, which type do you prefer: on campus or online? Or if you haven’t taken any yet, which way would you like to try? Let us know in the comments!

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About RaeAnn Jent

RaeAnn Jent

RaeAnn is a senior at Ohio Virtual Academy, an online high school. She loves taking dual-enrollment classes and everything about the college search process. She enjoys writing, listening to music, bowling, and volunteering at a local history museum. After graduating high school, she hopes to attend Cedarville University and major in broadcasting and digital media with a minor in creative writing. Be sure to check out her personal blog.