Understanding dual enrollment

If you are the parent of high-schoolers, you may have heard of dual enrollment. Some students have the option to participate both in their regular classes and earn college credit through a different institution at the same time, hence the term. There are many factors to consider before encouraging your child to enroll in such a program. Here are a few to peruse:

Are classes online or in person?
Taking courses from two institutions is a lot of work – especially if your children will have to commute between two campuses. If the high school is close to the post-secondary school, this may not be an issue. However, many students take on dual enrollment because they have the option to do courses online. This reduces the time commitment by removing the commute. Students can participate in online courses while in study hall at school or after sports practice and on the weekends. This flexibility is important and can emulate what it's like to be enrolled in college full time and taking courses via the web.

Are your kids ready for dual enrollment?
Just because students qualify for dual enrollment does not mean they should do it. In order to take part, teens typically must earn a specific grade point average on all their courses or in the classes for which they partner with the college. For example, a student looking to take advanced chemistry through a local university may have to earn an A- or higher at the high-school level to earn acceptance. Dual enrollment isn't just about education, though. Your kids must be ready to fully commit to doing more difficult coursework than their peers and performing at a college level. This involves time and energy that your kids may not have. Thankfully, it is an option to have your teens try dual enrollment. If they don't excel or they neglect their regular classes, they can return to taking classes only at the high school.

What are the benefits of dual enrollment?
One of the biggest reasons why many students opt to partake in dual enrollment is to save money. They may be able to take college courses at a very discounted rate while still in high school, getting the general courses out of the way. Then, when they move to post-secondary school for a full course load, they can focus on major-specific classes and reduce their time in college and, therefor, their student loans. Another benefit of dual enrollment is keeping teens on their toes.

Students who learn above the level of their peers should have access to more challenging classwork, and these programs provide just that. Dual enrollment can greatly reduce boredom and even improve in-class behavior because the teens will have difficult assignments to work on instead of goofing around because they already know everything. The rigorous standards that dual-enrolled students must achieve are akin to what it's like to be in college and are a great way to prepare them for the next step in their educational journey.

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