As juniors across the country begin planning for next year’s courses, many are considering a dual-enrollment or concurrent enrollment class. Dual-enrollment classes enable high school students to take classes at a local college—and potentially earn college credit.
There are a number of benefits to dual-enrollment programs. Earning college credit while still in high school sounds like a dream for many students. In addition, these programs introduce students to the rigors of college coursework early, and recent studies have shown that students who participate in dual-enrollment programs are more likely go on to get a college degree. But is dual enrollment right for your child?
Why Should My Child Consider a Dual-Enrollment Program?
- Dual enrollment gives students an idea of what full-time college coursework will be like, says ecampustours.com. By trying out a few classes while still in high school, your child can get used to the academic environment before he or she leaves the comfort and support of home.
- Your child may be able to take classes that aren’t offered at his or her high school.
- College courses can give your student a closer look at his or her area of academic interest. If your child is currently loving AP history, a college course next year on the Civil War or the Great Depression will help him or her explore that period in greater depth and precision.
- According to collegeboard.com, most students change their majors at least once. Taking a college class as a high school senior can help your child find his or her area of interest before the pressure is on to declare a major.
- If your student didn’t qualify to take AP courses, or if those courses weren’t available at your child’s high school, taking a college-level class will help him or her demonstrate the ability to handle more difficult coursework, according to ecampustours.com. This ability is something every college admissions officer wants to see.
- Due to the large number of online and virtual classes offered by many schools, dual-enrollment courses may be conducted right at your child’s high school, says ecampustours.com. Ask your student’s guidance counselor about dual-enrollment options in your area.
- Perhaps the biggest benefit of dual enrollment is that your student may start accumulating college credits, helping him or her graduate on time or even early.
Dual Enrollment Sounds Great! Is There Any Reason My Child Shouldn’t Participate?
- If a course is already available at your child’s school, it might be best to take it there. Colleges may wonder why a student has chosen to take an intro class at a community college if there’s an AP class in the same subject available at the high school level. (High school AP classes may well prove more challenging than an intro-level college course.) If the college course won’t give your student something above and beyond what’s available at his or her high school, take a pass.
- If a college class will interfere with your child’s regular coursework or extracurriculars, it may not be a good idea. A college course should enhance a student’s resume, but not at the expense of other resume-enhancing activities. When considering scheduling, be sure to take into account not just the normal class schedule but breaks as well, cautions Nevada’s Great Basin College; your local high school and community college may not operate on the same academic calendar. A different holiday schedule could cause conflicts with class trips, family vacations, or out-of-town athletic commitments.
- A college course in music appreciation is a great resume booster—as long as your child plans to go into music. If he or she is planning a career in chemistry, the music class won’t help, and could raise questions about the academic rigor of your child’s senior year courses. Carefully consider the academic value of any class your child is considering.
- Dual-enrollment courses are real college courses for real college credit; the grades will go on your student’s permanent record. Before enrolling, make sure your student is ready for the demanding work a college class will require, or it could hurt his or her chances at college acceptance down the line, recommends Florida’s Valencia Community College. Furthermore, if a student fails a dual-enrollment course, it could mean he or she won’t graduate high school on time.
- If your child is considering a dual-enrollment program for the purpose of earning college credits, be sure of the value of the credits. For each college where your child may apply next year, check to see how many credits (if any) a dual-enrollment class would earn your child. The credit policy will depend on the school.
Where Should We Start?
- Rules for dual-enrollment eligibility vary from state to state, so students should check with their high school guidance counselors to find out if they qualify, says ecampustours.com. Usually, students must be at least 16 years old and have a GPA of at least 2.5; they may also have to take placement tests. Students will also need permission from parents/guardians and a guidance counselor or principal.
- Your child’s guidance counselor will also be able to provide information about financial obligations. Many states pay for dual enrollment; in other states, students must pay.
As always, if you have any questions about your child’s academic future, StudyPoint is here to help! Visit our Tutoring Resource Center to read more expert college admissions advice, or contact a member of our Enrollment Team at 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764).
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