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Dual Enrollment Courses for the College-bound

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Dual Enrollment allows students in their last two years of high school to enroll for college credit at a local college or university. This program extends the opportunity for lower income students or minority students to get a head start toward college. It also allows college applicants looking to get into a more selective college get on the fast track to their goals.

Dual enrollment, then, can make your high school resume look even better and demonstrate your ability to do college work. It can also help students get a sense of what to expect in college, give them more familiarity with college culture, and save them money on their college degree. In fact, the dual enrollment programs are often designed to keep the cost of a baccalaureate degree under $10,000.

There are different ways to deliver the dual enrollment programs. First there are two models, a la carte and prix fixe. The a la carte model allows students to take any course they have an interest in. The prix fixe model offers courses that meet pre-requisites for the college and for common majors.

Either model can be delivered in three ways: via video stream, through high school teachers, or with students commuting to the campus to attend the college class. When high school teachers deliver the course work, they must be both trained and eligible for adjunct teacher status at the college.

There are plusses and minuses to enrolling in college classes in high school.

• Unlike AP courses and International Baccalaureate programs, which require a test for college credits with only the highest scores earning credit, dual enrollment college credit is attained by passing the course. However, some colleges will not allow the credit, and others will not transfer the credits. Some colleges will require an additional test to demonstrate the student can actually do college work before allowing credit.

• Enrollees from dual enrollment courses often do well at college, graduating on time and often doing better grade-wise. However, some dual enrollment students are bored at college and tend to drop out or fill their time in less-than constructive ways.

• Most dual enrollees can move ahead into upper level course work, while some have not had an authentic college experience and may even lack basic high school skills. These students may need extra help or remedial help at college.

Whatever the plusses and minuses, these courses are tuition free and save time and money. Also dual enrollment classes can help those who are not college-bound receive certification so they can obtain jobs right after high school. Students in high school, through the dual enrollment program, can be certified in firefighting, medical assistance, and technology.