When I was planning for senior year back in the summer, I was a bit overwhelmed, and couldn’t find much information to prepare me for my new schedule of dual enrollment.
During my senior year of high school, I got to experience something totally different than the typical high school course load. Dual enrollment is when you are enrolled at both your high school and another institution, usually a community college. You can earn credits that satisfy your high school requirements. You’ll receive classes at a discounted or free price, and earn college credits that will transfer down the line!
Let’s get started with some background information on what I did prior to dual enrollment and then a breakdown of what my experience was like.
If you have read the high school overview post in my Ultimate Guide to College Applications series, you know I had a pretty hefty course load during my junior year of high school. I took 3 AP Classes, and took the corresponding AP exams for each. If you score high enough on an AP exam, you can earn college credits for less than $100 (the cost of the exam).
I took AP English Language and Composition, AP Psychology, and AP Biology, along with Human Anatomy and Physiology. I was overwhelmed with work, but it all paid off in the long run!
AP Scores are given on almost a scale system. The highest you can score is a 5. Colleges vary on what scores they accept, but a 4 or 5 will pretty much guarantee you some kind of credit awarded. Because of the scores I received, I knew that no matter which college I ended up at in the fall, I would get some credits. However, this also meant that I started at the community college with a transcript holding 14 credits, which is awesome considering I’d never stepped foot into a college classroom!
Summer was passing way too quickly, and I knew it was time to figure out what my senior year would look like.
Dual Enrollment & My Schedule
Dual Enrollment is a really amazing opportunity with tons of benefits. I highly recommend it, and want to give you some basic information on it!
My school uses a semester system, so we have two semesters each year in which we take 4 classes per semester, meaning we take 8 high school semester-long classes per year. In the first semester of my senior year, I only attended the high school for 1 class.
This was such an amazing chance for me to grow and be independent as well as take on responsibility for managing all of the different things I had going on. My schedule included a world history class, which is a graduation requirement, at the high school, along with dual-enrollment for 3 classes. I took an Education course, an English class, and a Statistics class all at the college.
My stat course was a “hybrid course”, meaning it was 50% or more online and less than 50% in the classroom. I really liked the flexibility, and it let me learn the math in a way that really worked for me!
My schedule looked like this.
Dual enrollment is one of the most beneficial things you can do in high school. Give yourself an advantage in college. Knock off a few prerequisite credits and save money. Dual enrollment set me apart in the college application process and prepared me for college coursework.
Money & Time
College is a huge expense! Dual enrollment students receive classes at discounted or free rates. Community college courses are already much cheaper than most colleges and universities. This means you can take lots of courses for very little money, respectively. I took 5 classes total this year. 5 classes may not sound like very many, but on my transcript, with AP classes factored in, I have 30 credits. This is a huge chunk of classes that will transfer.
Ease the College Transition
I am going into college knowing about the content, structure, and independence of college courses. You will learn about textbook options, scheduling classes, and more during of dual enrollment.
I had a really positive experience getting to meet new people, as well as explore course areas that interest me.
One of the biggest things in college that causes a headache is class registration. Especially in your freshman year, it can be difficult to get the general course requirements out of the way in order to take classes you want. Dual enrollment can eliminate this by letting you take all of those pesky requirements while you’re still in high school! This will open up huge amounts of opportunity for you to have a freshman year full of classes you really enjoy!
Through my classes at the community college, I met lots of great professors. Specifically, one professor took a huge interest in helping me to find my path and she helped me to land the internship I did in the final semester of my senior year.
When you’re dually enrolled, you are treated like any other college student. This brings a lot of freedom, independence, and responsibility to your life. You get to join clubs, attend events and trips, and achieve bigger.
I’m extremely grateful that I earned many college credits before finishing high school. I gained many valuable opportunities through my professors!
Set Yourself Apart
In the world of college applications, standing out from the crowd can be difficult. Having attended a college to earn credits during high school will definitely make you stand out.
You can be a stand-out when applying for jobs, internships, or volunteer programs. Dual enrollment shows drive and determination which will impress potential employers.
Finally, become more marketable by gaining valuable skills and even certifications. For example, if you are interested in education, you can get childcare courses and earn certifications! If you are interested in nursing, you could get your CNA before graduating high school!
How to Explore Dual Enrollment
- Head to your school’s counseling office. Speak to either your counselor, or whoever is in charge of scheduling. Ask for information about dual enrollment. If they have an application on hand, fill it out to prepare!
- Contact a local college and do some basic searches for dual enrollment options. Set up an exploratory meeting with admissions. See what the requirements are and if you qualify!
- Take a look at the college you hope to attend in the future, specifically their general education requirements. Make a short list that can serve as a guide for scheduling classes.
Don’t take classes that won’t transfer, and avoid classes that are not important to your future. I’m a huge believer that all learning is important and valuable. However, you can really optimize your time and money by taking courses that matter!
Have you done dual enrollment during high school?
What are your tips for dual enrollment students?