What is Dual Enrollment?

Dual enrollment programs are programs that allow students to take classes from two different institutions at the same time for course credit. A common example is a post-secondary program that allows a high school student to take college classes while still enrolled in high school. These programs let a a high school student obtain the classes needed for graduation while earning college credits. Some colleges offer similar programs for college students that let them earn classes from two different departments or schools at the same time.

How It Works

Programs for high school students work in two different ways. Some programs allow students to take an entire course load at a local community college or university. The student must take classes that will count toward their requirements for graduation. Most take courses on English literature, college algebra, economics, history and psychology or sociology. Other programs limit the number of classes students can take and require that they take at least one class in high school. The high school will take the classes they took and use each one as one of the required courses students must take to graduate.

Applying for Admission

Though these programs are common in many states, most states limit admission to students who are a junior or senior in high school. Juniors can typically take only a small number of college classes, but seniors can take all their classes in college. Prior to enrolling, students must first meet with a guidance counselor to look over their options and decide which college to attend. Some colleges may ban high school students from taking a full course load. They must also fill out an application packet. The college may ask for a high school transcript or an essay written by the student too.

Benefits of These Programs

A report done by the Education Commission of the States found that students attending dual enrollment programs have a greater chance of finishing a college degree after high school. These programs give students experience in college and let them see what colleges expect of them, including the amount of work they must do and how they should act in their classes. Students also have the chance to complete general education requirements in high school that they can transfer to other colleges later. This cuts down on the number of classes they must take after high school to finish a degree and helps them save money on college too.

For College Students

These programs are also available for students already enrolled in college. Many programs allow students to earn degrees from two different disciplines or departments. A student going to law school may enroll in a program that lets the student earn a master’s in business or another field. There is also something called the 4 + 1 program for accounting majors that makes it easier for them to earn both a bachelor and master in accounting. Many dual programs available to college students are at the master’s level or the doctoral level.

High school students looking at attending college later may find a dual program helpful. These programs allow students who are juniors or seniors to complete the work necessary for graduation from high school while gaining college credits. A dual enrollment program increases the chances of a student finishing a college degree.

See also: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit