Dual enrollment is a great way to take college courses while still in high school. It prepares you for college and gives you early exposure to the rigor of higher level courses.
So, what do you need to know about dual enrollment courses? High school students take dual enrollment courses at a college and receive credit for both high school and college. This allows students to take courses that their high school may not offer. The cost of dual enrollment courses varies, and you may be able to enroll in online dual enrollment courses.
Of course, whether you can participate in dual enrollment depends on where you live. Some states require students to be in 9th, 10th, or even 11th grade or higher to participate in dual enrollment programs.
In this article, we’ll talk about dual enrollment, how it works, and what you need to know. We’ll also answer some common questions about dual enrollment and when you can participate.
Let’s get started.
Dual Enrollment Courses
Dual enrollment (also called dual credit or concurrent enrollment) is a great way for students to take courses that their high school may not offer. Usually, these courses are first or second year college courses (100 level or 200 level).
Depending on your location, dual enrollment courses are available to public school, private school, and home school students.
How Does Dual Enrollment Work?
Dual enrollment allows high school students to take college courses. In doing so, they earn credit for high school and for college at the same time.
For example, a high school student could opt for dual enrollment in a calculus or statistics class that offers credit for high school and college.
Together with honors or AP (Advanced Placement) courses, dual enrollment helps high school students to prepare for college. With dual enrollment courses, students are exposed to college coursework early.
Dual enrollment also allows you to take courses that your high school may not be able to offer.
Remember that not every college participates in dual enrollment programs. It might help to keep a spreadsheet or Google sheet to track which colleges offer dual enrollment, and which ones offer the classes you want.
Participation may also be limited by capacity at a college. So, if you want to sign up for dual enrollment, do your research early and make your decision!
Before you decide on dual enrollment at a college, ask about course fees. Also, ask whether credits from that college will transfer to other schools you are interested in (you may want to ask the college that would be receiving the credits to be certain).
Do Dual Enrollment Classes Affect College GPA?
Dual enrollment classes may affect your college GPA, depending on the college and how they handle dual enrollment and college transfer credits.
If a college does not accept transfer credits from your dual enrollment class, the grade will not be counted towards your college GPA.
Note that dual enrollment may give you “advanced standing” at a college (so that you can skip intro classes to take more advanced ones). However, some schools will not accept the actual credits from the course, and the grade you earned will not factor into your college GPA.
If a college accepts transfer credits from your dual enrollment class, then the grade may be counted towards your college GPA. You would need to ask the college for their policy.
You may be able to request that a dual enrollment course not be counted towards your college GPA. However, you would have to ask the college about their policy, since it will vary from school to school.
In any case, the dual enrollment courses you take in high school may appear on your college transcripts.
Is Dual Enrollment Free?
Dual enrollment is free in some cases, but not always. In the U.S., funding for dual enrollment depends on the state and the school.
You should ask your high school about dual enrollment and available funding. In some cases, preference is given to students who are:
- first-generation college students
- interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields
Example: Dual Enrollment In The State Of Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, students who are funded by CDEP (Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program) take their first dual enrollment course for free or for a small fee.
After the first course, the college sets the fee.
Is Dual Enrollment The Same As AP?
Dual enrollment is not the same as AP (Advanced Placement). The table below summarizes some similarities and differences between the two.
|Take in |
|Both high |
and differences between dual
enrollment and AP courses.
Both dual enrollment and AP are courses that you can take in high school. Both can give you advanced standing at a college, depending on the school’s policies.
Both give you high school credit and can affect your high school GPA.
Dual enrollment courses are offered by a college, either on campus or online. On the other hand, AP courses are offered by a high school.
Dual enrollment courses may affect your college GPA. However, AP courses will never affect your college GPA.
Dual enrollment courses are also open to college students, while AP courses are for high school students only.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment In 8th Grade?
It will be difficult to do dual enrollment in 8th grade. One reason is that you are not in high school yet.
Another reason is that you may not be prepared for the challenge of college level coursework at that point in your academic career.
Also, your state may not be willing to fund dual enrollment for students until they have reached 9th, 10th, or even 11th grade.
According to the Education Commission of the States, some states require students to be in at least 9th grade to participate in dual enrollment.
In addition, remember that dual enrollment programs often have limited capacity. They may give preference to college students first, then students at participating high schools, and then 8th grade students.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment In 9th Grade?
You can do dual enrollment in 9th grade in some high schools, but it is probably not as common. Some 9th grade students take AP courses, but this is rare, since they are not as prepared for college level work as students in higher grade levels who have a stronger background in math, reading, and writing.
Also, remember that dual enrollment programs often have limited capacity. They may give preference to college students first, then 12th, 11th, and perhaps 10th grade students at participating high schools, and then 9th grade students.
However, you may not be able to do dual enrollment in 9th grade, depending on where you live. According to the Education Commission of the States, some states require students to be in at least 10th grade to participate in dual enrollment.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment In 10th Grade?
You can do dual enrollment in 10th grade in some high schools. Since some 10th grade students take AP courses, the reasoning is that they can also handle dual enrollment courses offered through a college.
Just keep in mind that dual enrollment programs often have limited capacity. They may give preference to college students first, then 12th and 11th grade students at participating high schools, and then 10th grade students.
According to the Education Commission of the States, some states require students to be in at least 11th grade to participate in dual enrollment.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment In 11th Grade?
You can do dual enrollment in 11th grade in most high schools. Since some 11th grade students take AP courses, the reasoning is that they can also handle dual enrollment courses offered through a college.
Just keep in mind that dual enrollment programs often have limited capacity. They may give preference to college students first, then 12th grade students at participating high schools, and then 11th grade students.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment In 12th Grade?
You can do dual enrollment in 12th grade if there are colleges that participate with your high school. Ask your high school for a list of participating colleges, or inquire about a specific college (online or on campus) that you are interested in.
You will be taking your most challenging high school course load in 12th grade. So, make sure that you don’t overload with too many dual enrollment courses if you are already taking lots of AP and Honors-level courses.
Taking dual enrollment and other advanced courses is good, but only if you are able to maintain a strong GPA while taking the courses.
Remember that dual enrollment programs often have limited capacity. They may give preference to college students first and then open up enrollment to 12th grade students at participating high schools.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment Over The Summer?
You can do dual enrollment over the summer in some cases. If a college that offers dual enrollment allows it, you can take summer courses that they offer for both high school and college credit.
Some colleges do not offer summer courses, or they might not allow dual enrollment students to register for them. For example, Bridgewater State University only allows dual enrollment during fall and spring semester courses, not summer.
Can You Do Dual Enrollment Online?
You can do dual enrollment online in some cases. If a college that offers dual enrollment has eligible online courses, then you may be able to participate from home without commuting to the college campus.
It is best to ask your high school and the participating college about online dual enrollment courses. That way, you will have information about the time commitment, credit transfers, GPA, and other concerns.
Now you know more about dual enrollment and how it can bolster your high school transcript while preparing you for college.
Applying to colleges? Learn about early decision, early action, and regular decision here.
You can learn about the factors to consider when choosing a college here.
You might also like to read my article on microlearning.
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