Participating in the Dual Enrollment Program

Some students reach a specific point in their high school journey when they want to inquire about their college options and look for ways to get a head start on higher education classes. Dual enrollment opportunities allow students to gain some college credits while still in high school. This opportunity provides an excellent way for students to get college credits. It also meets your high school graduation requirements before graduating. Before you sign up for dual enrollment, consider these critical details and what it requires.

By Dr. Gwendolyn Maria Parrish — October 12, 2022


Participating in the Dual Enrollment Program

Some students reach a specific point in their high school journey when they want to inquire about their college options and look for ways to get a head start on higher education classes. Dual enrollment opportunities allow students to gain some college credits while still in high school. This opportunity provides an excellent way for students to get college credits. It also meets your high school graduation requirements before graduating. Before you sign up for dual enrollment, consider these critical details and what it requires.

How it Works

First, you need to speak with your assigned advisor at your high school. If you are unsure who this person is, you can ask the registration office to assist. Discuss your expectations and goals with them so they can determine the best way to proceed. They will also advise you whether the dual enrollment program is right for you. Next, you will continue to work with your advisor to find the colleges in your area that participate in the program and decide which one you would like to apply. Your advisor will help you with the application process. Keep in mind that there may be application-related tasks that you may need to complete before being approved, such as a short essay.

On-Campus or Online

While considering which colleges you would like to apply to for your dual enrollment opportunity, it is important to remember that some colleges may require you to go to the campus and participate in person, while others may offer an online option. You will need to know that you can commit to the option you choose since your success in the program determines your ability to participate actively in all class sessions. The grades you earn in your college courses will also appear on your high school transcript. Strong marks here offer an excellent pathway toward increasing your chances of getting into a college of your choice if you want to continue your education beyond an associate's or bachelor's degree. You will have a transcript for your high school and college courses that reflect your academic abilities and showcase your academic skills.

Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment

While dual enrollment offers many significant advancements in your educational journey, it is not for everyone. It is a great opportunity but does require a great deal of your time and commitment to succeed. Be sure to consider the program's specifics for each college you apply. You may want to call and speak with an academic advisor at the college of your choice who is knowledgeable about each program so you can make an informed decision.

Pros Include:

  • Save money on your college degree
  • Get a head start on college credits
  • Have the opportunity to gain experience as a college student
  • Potential to earn an associate degree while still in high school
  • A greater variety of classes, so students may find dual enrollment more engaging than their high school coursework
  • You may be more likely to pursue full degree programs after graduating high school
  • Dual enrollment may provide increased access to some college courses for students, including those from impoverished households or with physical disabilities

Cons include:

  • Dual enrollment courses are not considered as rigorous as AP courses, and academic rigor is important in the college admissions process
  • Credit earned through dual enrollment may not transfer to all schools, so ask before enrolling
  • Courses may not be taught by college professors and may therefore be unavailable
  • Commuting between high school and college campuses can be difficult to maintain
  • Entering a college with credits can affect a student's class standing and scholarship eligibility
  • All high schools do not weight dual enrollment courses in the same way as honors or AP classes when calculating your GPA, so you may find that an A in a dual enrollment course brings down your GPA, so you should discuss your specific circumstances with your assigned high school advisor

Remember that the college courses in this program are not free, so you will need a financial plan to pay for your additional courses. You may also have a parent or guardian speak on your behalf if you are still a minor under 18. Depending on your state, there may be scholarships or grants allotted for the program, so do a little research before applying for a student loan. Dual enrollment policies and requirements vary by state, but your high school counselor can also help you understand how to start your request to participate in the program. Click here to learn more about the program requirements in your state. For more information about your college readiness, click here.

Dr. Gwendolyn Maria Parrish

Dr. Gwendolyn Maria Parrish

Dr. Gwendolyn M. Parrish is a graduate of MSU, where she received a BA in Elementary Education and an MS in Educational Leadership. Maria has more than ten years of experience in the classroom and two years as a high school vice-principal. She is a graduate of Capella University, where she completed a Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction and Administration. Maria has also been a writing consultant for Capella for the past three years and enjoy working with learners of all ages.
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