What Is Dual Enrollment for High School Students?


Feb 10, 2023
College enrollment

We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.

Have you ever wondered, what is dual enrollment? Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credits while still in high school. Though this program is also known as concurrent enrollment, they are slightly different. However, both allow students to get a head start on their college education while still completing their high school requirements.

In the subsequent paragraphs, you will learn about the benefits and drawbacks of dual enrollment, how to enroll in the program and what to expect when taking college classes while still in high school.

Benefits of Dual Enrollment

If you want to know why you should go for the dual enrollment program, below are several benefits you can expect to gain for making an early decision about college enrollment:

1.  Earning College Credit

One of the most significant benefits of dual enrollment is the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. This can save students both time and money in the long run, as they will have fewer classes to take once they enroll in college, which also gives them the potential to graduate early.

2.  Improving College Readiness

Taking college-level courses in high school can help prepare students for the rigors of college coursework. This can include learning how to write research papers, taking exams and navigating the expectations of college professors.

3.  Expanding Course Options

Dual enrollment often offers students some classes that are not available at the high school level. This can include specialized courses such as engineering, computer science or foreign languages

4.  Gaining a Sense of Collge Life

Participating in concurrent enrollment can give students a taste of college life, including the independence and responsibility that comes with taking college courses. 

Drawbacks of Dual Enrolment

While there are many benefits of dual enrollment, there are also some drawbacks to consider and they include the following:

  • Time commitment: Taking college classes while still in high school can be demanding because students must balance their high school coursework with college’s.
  • Cost: Dual enrollment programs mean students may need to pay for tuition and textbooks. Though some programs may be covered by financial aid, not all.
  • Difficulty level: College classes may be more challenging than high school’s, which can be overwhelming for some students.

Steps to Start Your Dual Enrollment Program

Generally, students must be in their junior or senior year of high school and have an unweighted minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. Some programs may also require a minimum score on a college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT. Here are some general steps to follow:

  1. Research Programs: Look into dual enrollment programs offered by local colleges or universities. The high school may offer some of the programs. 
  2. Meet with a guidance counselor: Discuss the possibility of dual enrollment with a guidance counselor at your high school. They can provide information about programs available and help you decide if dual enrollment is a good fit.
  3. Consult with a College Advisor: Once you have decided on a program, you should meet with a college advisor to discuss the specific of the program and the enrollment details.
  4. Submit Required Paperwork: You must submit the necessary paperwork, such as transcripts and test scores, to the college or university.

What to Expect When Taking College Classes in High School

Taking college courses in high school can be a unique experience. Below are some of the things you can expect as a high school student:

  • Increased workload: College classes are often more demanding than high school classes and you should expect to spend more time studying and completing assignments.
  • More independence: Classes in college often require more independent work and self-motivation than high school classes.
  • Different teaching styles: College professors may have different teaching styles than high school teachers, so expect to adapt to these differences
  • Greater accountability: Due to the workload and the individuality of coursework, you become more responsible towards your school life.

Start Your Dual Enrollment Journey

Dual enrollment is an excellent opportunity for you as a high school student to get a head start on your college education. It can save you time and money, help you prepare for college and give you a chance to take college-level classes that are not offered in your school.

Written By