Dual enrollment is a program that gives students the opportunity to simultaneously earn high school and college credit by completing post-secondary course work. Last year was my first year as a dual-enrollment student and based upon my experiences, here are five reasons why every high school student should consider taking dual-enrollment courses.
1. You can save money
In many states, public high school students can take college-level courses for free by meeting state and university requirements. Even in cases where college courses may not be free, they are often offered at a discount to high school students. Receiving college credit for free or at a reduced rate could potentially save you thousands of dollars in future tuition costs.
Related: 6 Ways to Reduce the Cost of College
2. You can save time
In most cases, dual-enrollment courses allow students to complete high school and college requirements at the same time. For example, a college composition course may count toward your general education requirements for college and your English requirements for high school. This rule varies by state, so make sure to check your high school’s policy. College programs typically require 120 credits. The more credits you take through dual enrollment, the fewer you’ll need to complete after high school to earn a college degree. Entering college with credits under your belt may even allow you to complete your degree a year or two ahead of schedule.
3. You can be challenged academically
College classes are a fast-paced, rigorous alternative to traditional high school courses. Last spring I took a college US history course, which explored concepts faster and in greater depth than the two-semester US history course offered at my high school. During the fall semester, I was able to take a dual-enrollment psychology course as well. I couldn’t have taken both psychology and US history at my high school last year, so this was an incredible opportunity. Colleges also offer many interesting classes that may not be offered at your high school, such as creative writing, political science, graphic design, sociology, engineering, nursing, and technology. Consider advanced courses in your favorite subjects or introductory classes on topics you’d like to explore. The possibilities are endless.
4. You can choose your college experience
Dual-enrollment courses are offered at community colleges, public universities, and private universities. In addition, they can be taken on campus or completed at select high schools or online. I’ve taken online classes from a Christian university, which has been a wonderful experience. I encourage you to consider the many options available to find what works best for you.
5. You can gain valuable life skills
College-level work requires a good deal of responsibility, time management, and independence. Professors expect students to complete assignments on time, to prepare thoroughly for exams and presentations, and to think for themselves. Learning these skills through dual-enrollment classes is fantastic preparation for life in college, the workplace, and society.
Dual enrollment courses are a great way for students to challenge themselves in high school but also to get ahead in college. It prepares students for the academic rigor of college classes and maybe could even give you the chance to get right into your major when you get there. Take some time to seriously consider if this is the right path for you, but know that if you choose it, you’ll be heading on to great things.
For advice on how to manage all your classes, check out our Majors and Academics section—which shares tips for both high school and college learning.