In more and more areas of the country, high school students are being offered a unique opportunity: the chance to take general education college classes and earn college credits, while they're still in the process of completing their high school diploma. This is called dual enrollment. If you have a high school student who is on track to go to college, you may want to consider whether you want them to take advantage of a dual enrollment program. Take a look at some of the possible advantages of a dual enrollment program for your teen.
It Can Save Your Student Money in the Long Run
Dual enrollment is paid for in different ways depending on the state. In some states, college courses are free to high school students who are dual enrolled. Other states require students to pay the full cost. In some areas, students may receive free tuition, but be required to pay for their own textbooks, lab fees, or other expenses.
Even in a state where students and their families have to shoulder the whole cost of dual enrollment classes, they can still be a money-saver for your student in the long run. If your student has their sights set on a pricey private college or university, an Ivy League school, or an out-of-state school where they'll pay higher fees, enrolling them in a local community college or state school during high school can allow them to get some of their general education courses (that will be more or less the same wherever they go to school) out of the way at a lower cost.
It Can Help Your Student Plot Their Course
Some high school students know just what they want to do with their lives and what they want their major to be early on. For those students, dual enrolling in general education courses during high school simply allows them to get those courses that everyone has to take out of their way early, so that when they graduate, they can get right to work on courses that relate to their major.
Other students are less sure of their future path. For those students, dual enrollment might be a good opportunity to try some different electives as well. This can give them an idea of what they want their career path to be before they're required to declare a major, and may help them rule potential majors in or out without the hassle and expense of changing majors later in their college career.
It Can Demonstrate Their Ability to Handle College-level Work
College admissions are getting more competitive every year, and one way that students can show their preferred school that they're a good choice is by demonstrating that they're capable of handling college-level courses. Colleges want students that can show that they're going to be able to handle the rigors of a college program. Some students do this by enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) classes or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs offered by their high school.
However, not all high schools offer AP classes or IB programs. The school may not have the funding for these programs, or may not have enough students interested in the advanced class that your child is most interested in. Dual enrolling is a good way for your student to demonstrate their abilities when their high school doesn't offer these programs.
You can get more information about dual enrollment programs from your student's guidance counselor or from a college near you. Talk to your student about whether a dual enrollment program is right for them.