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Are you dying to get a taste of college life? Have you exhausted the course list at your high school and are hungry for new opportunities? Are you apprehensive about the difficulty of university courses and aren’t certain if you’re cut out for it? If any of these scenarios apply to your situation, you might enjoy the many dual enrollment benefits.
1. Earn a Degree in Less Time
Requirements differ slightly between states, but dual enrollment courses are generally open to high school juniors and seniors. After signing up, you’ll complete a traditional college class online or in person at the university. While enrolled, you earn credit towards a degree and high school diploma simultaneously.
The courses you complete are transferable to most state schools and some private universities, so you’ll already be done with a portion of your college degree when you graduate high school. Completing many dual enrollment courses can help you finish at university in less time, allow you to add a minor or even fit in a double major.
2. Graduate With Less Debt
Paying for a dual enrollment course is far cheaper than paying for the same class as a full-time college student. The cost depends on the university your high school partners with but generally will set you back between one and five hundred dollars for the whole class. Traditional university prices cost at least that much per credit hour, so multiply the cost by three or four for the course.
3. Build Confidence
In most cases, college courses will be more difficult than high school classes. You’ll likely feel apprehensive about the workload and mental demand. However, if you push through and complete your first course, you’ll get a thrilling sense of accomplishment. You’ll know if you have the skills and perseverance to continue taking college courses. Dual enrollment can help you feel ready to conquer the next stage of your life.
4. Experience College Life
Aside from nerves about college courses, many high school students worry about what campus life will feel like. Even though you won’t be living in a dorm, you’ll still walk to class every week, eat the food, and maybe study in the library. Also, as a dual enrollment student, most universities will let you participate in college clubs and activities, giving you a well-rounded taste of life on campus.
5. Gain Access to Broad Course Options
Even at the most prestigious high schools, the number of teachers and schedule availability limits the course catalog. Colleges are able to offer a much larger variety of classes and niche topics. Whether taking core subjects or electives, you’ll be able to find something that piques your interests.
6. Decide on a Major
If you’re hesitant about the major you want to pursue, you aren’t alone — many high school and first-year college students are in the same boat. Dual enrollment will allow you to explore many fields of interest at a fraction of the cost and without committing to a particular major. You’ll also get a taste of what your favorite high school subjects look like at the college level. For instance, you might find your love for English class doesn’t extend to university literature or writing courses.
Give It a Try
One of the best perks of dual enrollment courses is their lack of permanency. Unlike enrolling in a four-year college, these classes let you try coursework without the commitment.
If you don’t feel ready after one semester of dual enrollment or think it isn’t a good fit, you don’t have to do it again the following season. Since it’s a relatively low-cost alternative, you stand nothing to lose by giving it a try, and you gain all the dual enrollment benefits.