What is Dual Enrollment?
Dual enrollment is an opportunity for high school students, usually juniors or seniors, to take a course through a local college or correspondence/online program that simultaneously offers high school and college credit. Essentially, while taking a dual enrollment course, the student is officially enrolled in both high school and college, at least for that one course.
Points to Ponder
Here are some thoughts to consider as you determine whether or not dual enrollment is right for your family’s homeschool situation.
Dual enrollment can be very beneficial to any high school student who desires to get a head start on college, especially if the intended course of study involves general education courses. It is important to keep in mind, however, that colleges and universities do not automatically accept all credits from other schools. If you are looking at one school for dual enrollment and a different school for college admission, make sure that the credits will transfer.
Many students choose to take AP tests in high school. Their score on these tests determine whether or not they can receive college credit for the course. Dual enrollment offers an alternative to AP courses and tests and, depending on the course, may cost about the same amount.
Sometimes dual enrollment courses offer a greater variety of course options than might be available through a standard high school curriculum source, a local co-op, or online opportunities. This can allow a student to pursue an interest that might otherwise have to wait until college.
Ease into College
The shift from high school to college can be an interesting on for homeschoolers. Although many homeschool graduates do very well in college, taking a college-level class or two while in high school can help with the the transition in course style, class expectations, and classroom setting.
A Few More Thoughts
With all of the benefits, it can be hard to imagine why dual enrollment would not be a great idea! But, there are a few more thoughts to consider before you and your student dive in to this option.
High school is still high school! If you choose dual enrollment, limit it to one or two courses per year. A head start on college is not worthwhile if your student feels overwhelmed as they are finishing high school.
Also, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of a head start on college. Often, freshman or general education classes are where students get a lower-stress introduction to college life, meet new friends, and explore interests while they try to settle on a course of study. Some students will find that pursuing scholarships is a more worthwhile pursuit during the last two years of high school than getting a head start on college would be.