Why You Should Consider Dual Enrollment

   This school year, I have had the privilege of being a part of the dual enrollment program as a high school junior. For those of you who do not know about the program, dual enrollment provides high school juniors and seniors with a free, rigorous college education while allowing them to obtain credit for both high school and college at the same time. Because I was uncertain about taking so many college classes at such an early time in my life, I decided to try two this year. If I could go back, I would have taken more. Dual enrollment has honestly been the best academic decision I have ever made. 

   Before I go into detail, I am aware that many of you are proponents of the Advanced Placement program, and that you have been successful in many of the AP classes available. I'm not saying that AP classes should not be taken, nor am I saying that dual enrollment is right for everyone. On the same note, I can also say that I was once in AP, was extremely successful, but at the same time, discovered an alternative path this year through dual enrollment that has been one of the greatest blessings. In fact, I was headed into the AP direction, although confused and in prayer about whether I should continue to do so, when God stopped me in my tracks and answered my prayers. Somehow, in some way, a conversation arose with a shelter volunteer who was a dual enrollment student, and from then on, I knew that it was worth a try. I'm so thankful God placed that sweet girl in my life. My school life has changed dramatically!

  This year, I was able to take only four high school classes, three of the four classes being electives. I was able to sleep in an extra hour and leave an hour early from school every day of the week. I took my two college classes in the afternoon and at night, which, for the majority of the classes, only took place once a week for two and a half hours. That's not the only reason you should consider dual enrollment though. After doing a research paper on dual enrollment for my English Composition class, the statistics prove its effectiveness. Here are eight reasons why you should consider taking dual enrollment classes:

1. Through dual enrollment, you can accomplish many, if not all, of the credits needed to accomplish your AA degree. My suggestion is to focus on getting as many of your core classes needed for your AA degree while you can. From English Composition to College Algebra, taking the classes needed for your first college degree will save you a ton of time later. And if you complete enough college classes now, you might begin college as a sophomore or junior after you graduate from high school!

2. Many people worry that they are wasting time if they don’t receive credit or if their credits do not transfer to the college after graduating. However, the research I conducted for my English class may eliminate any worries. Ready for the statistics? According to a study, 98% of students earned credit for dual enrollment classes. In a study that compared the number of dual enrollment and AP credits that transferred to colleges, it was found that less than 75% of AP credits were accepted, while 95% of dual enrollment credits were.  In a different study of college-credit programs (not just Dual Enrollment), of the 17.5% of students who didn’t receive credit, 82% came from Advanced Placement. Not only that, but research shows that 91% of schools in the nation accept dual enrollment credits, and if you are going to a college within the state, every single college in the state of Florida is required to accept dual enrollment credits, as long as they offer the courses taken.

3. As I mentioned earlier, dual enrollment has enabled me to have a flexible schedule. If you take dual enrollment classes at the college, which is definitely my recommendation if you have the opportunity to do so, each class is only offered one to three times a week. Not only that, but you pick your schedule, classes, times of classes, and professors online. Basically, you can create a schedule that fits in with your lifestyle and weekly plans. 

4. The amount of money saved is one of the biggest benefits of taking dual enrollment classes. While in some states, you have to pay minimal fees, the majority of dual enrollment classes, including college tuition, textbook, courses, and all other college costs, are completely taken away! In fact, in the state of Florida, dual enrollment classes are offered completely free of charge. The more classes you take now, the less expenses you or your parents will have to pay later! Dual enrollment saves thousands of dollars.

5.  There is not a better way to prepare a high school student for their academic future than by placing them in an actual course at a college. Dual enrollment, when taken at the college, will expose you to the college environment. You will learn the expectations of college professors as you take on the role of a real college student. You will be able to interact with college peers and learn the ways of a college student. Becoming a college student while still in high school is so beneficial when preparing you for the later college years. Not only that, but dual enrollment has been directly linked to increasing student performance! It has increased the graduation rate, college dropout rate, as well as high school drop out rate.

6. In contrast to AP classes, it is a lot easier to pass a dual enrollment class and receive college credit. Instead of working to pass an AP exam, dual enrollment students must receive a C or higher in their college course to receive credit! 

7. While AP students often have a large number of assignments, dual enrollment students, because of the difference in high school and college grading systems, usually receive very little in comparison. In regards to stress, I have had one of the best school years of my life because of this! While my classes were not easier, I had so much less work to do, giving me the chance to have many free weekends and opportunities to do things outside of homework and school. 

8. Students receive double the credits in dual enrollment compared to AP because college courses are completed by semester, rather than a school year. If the student passes the exam, one year in an AP course normally distributes three credits per class. But dual enrollment students receive the same number of credits per semester. So by taking dual enrollment classes, you receive double the number of college credits an AP student receives!

   If you are an incoming high school junior or senior, I recommend taking dual enrollment courses. Becoming a college student while in high school has been an awesome opportunity that I do not regret being a part of. I can't wait to see what God has in store as I continue in my dual enrollment experience! 

"Dual Enrollment Offers a Bridge to College" by Fawn Johnson                         
"Dual Enrollment: The Way Forward" by Jad and Hassan Khazem
"The Changing Policy Framework of Dual Enrollment" by Jad and Hassan Khazem

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