You know what sounds scary? College. But I figured there was a way to help lessen that fear, or ease the stress. Take college courses while in high school! Dual Enrollment offers many other benefits as well, but even the process can be nerve wracking, so let me break it down.
Dual Enrollment Options
Most high schools have programs set up with local community colleges already, so the best place to start is your school counselor. He or she will be able to provide you with more information on the program, if it exists and how to get enrolled.
Towards the middle of second semester, we had an interesting meeting with a representative of the college. Attending one of these can help answer some specific questions about the process and how it is unique to your county or school. Keep in mind that if you attend a private school or are homeschooled the process will probably be very different. Just call the college to get the details specific to the school.
In my case, college courses could be taken online or at the campus and they would be weighted as AP courses. This was useful to me because it would help boost my GPA, and I could work on the course in between extracurricular activities because they were online.
It is also important that you consider what colleges will accept the courses you take and what courses are necessary for your degree. However, I would not recommend taking courses that are the focus of your major. You will want to take these key courses at whatever college you attend.
Once you get signed up for the classes, be sure to keep tabs on when they start. Make sure that you are enrolled in the correct courses. Your school can help facilitate conversations, but I recommend contacting the college representative yourself if you have questions or need to correct the schedule.
It is also important that you start on time, especially for online courses. Removal from the class is a distinct possibility if you do not complete a start-up activity.
Why I Chose Dual Enrollment
The reason I chose to take these classes is because they transfer to many in-state universities. In addition, these credits are weighed as AP courses, helping to raise my GPA. Colleges like to see that I challenged myself by taking these classes.
How Much Does It Cost?
The classes were completely free through my high school. In fact, they even rented out the textbooks for me using money set aside by the county. This was amazing because I was able to take two college courses with no charge.
Macroeconomics and World History I were the 2 classes I took and I made A’s in both. The teaching style of these classes surprised me. They were self-paced and not full of busywork, unlike some AP classes I have taken. I liked the level of responsibility this placed on me.
Is It The Right Option For You?
Dual enrollment is not for everyone. If you struggle with time management or you are very busy, perhaps you should take AP classes first to practice your organizational skills and to get a feel for the level of difficulty.
Ultimately, I can’t tell you what the right choice is for you, but dual enrollment is definitely worth looking in to and has the potential to save you and your family thousands of dollars. Good luck!