When to Choose a Dual Enrollment Program

Dual enrollment programs are academic arrangements that allow students to enroll in two separate learning institutions, such as a high school and a college. Dual enrollment programs permit students to take college-level classes and to receive university credit while they are still in high school. For some students, this is a great opportunity. However, dual enrollment programs are not for everyone. If you are contemplating a dual enrollment program, here are several factors to consider before you commit:

Advantages of dual enrollment programs

There are many benefits to dual enrollment programs. One potential advantage is financial – in some states, high school students who participate in dual enrollment can do so for free or for a reduced fee. Students who earn university credit through dual enrollment may also spend less time in college completing their degrees.

Another great advantage is that dual enrollment offers students the opportunity to challenge themselves with the rigor and pace of college coursework. Dual enrollment is especially ideal for students who are not able to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, or who wish to take courses that are not available at their high school. Dual enrollment programs allow these students to build a more diverse academic background. This, in turn, can bolster students’ college and scholarship applications.

Dual enrollment also prepares students for the difficult transition from high school to college. Students can become familiar with many aspects of college academics while still attending high school. This experience often eases the challenge of moving on to full-time collegiate studies. These are tips that every college freshman needs to know which may help you in your transition. 

Risks of dual enrollment programs

Despite these fantastic opportunities, there are some risks associated with dual enrollment. First, college classes are generally more rigorous than high school courses. If a student performs poorly in a college course, that grade may be factored into his or her high school GPA. Failing or earning a very low mark in a dual enrollment class can negatively affect the college application process, as some schools may question your ability to successfully complete college-level work.

Additionally, if a student chooses to participate in dual enrollment, he or she must be able to communicate effectively with staff members at the college and high school. Students must also ensure that the college courses they take will meet their high school requirements. Confusion over whether or not a class counts can affect your ability to graduate, so clear communication is important.   

Finally, not all high school students can devote the necessary time and effort to a dual enrollment program. Many students are heavily invested in extracurricular activities and events at their high schools. You may be unable to attend these activities if you participate in a dual enrollment program. Extracurricular activities are important though, check out why extracurriculars boost college success. Be sure to consider how much time you will need to spend studying before you commit to such a program. These tips on how to identify your study style may help you succeed in both programs!

For many students, dual enrollment is a wonderful educational opportunity. However, it is not an ideal choice for all students. If you are considering participating in a dual enrollment program, first evaluate the advantages and risks listed above.