Dual Enrollment for High School Students

With a student’s ever increasing busy life, more and more families are opting to dual enroll their high school student. But what does dual enrollment entail and what are some of the things families should consider?

The most common use case is when a student is either taking an online course in addition to their physical high school environment. Advanced high school students sometimes enroll at a local community college to get ahead or to take classes that are not offered at their school. The latter situation usually requires the student to take a placement exam at the community college to ensure that the high school student is capable of the course’s rigor. Online high school course enrollment is usually a pretty simple process that requires a signature from the student’s high school counselor and transcript.

There are a couple of benefits for dual enrollment that push families to opt for it. One benefit is for students with a very busy and time demanding schedule (mostly athletes). These students typically sign up for an online class that they can do on their own time and pace to meet their other obligations. Another benefit for dual enrollment is for students that are struggling at their high school in a particular course so they opt to take it online as they can have tutors to help them work at a steady pace. The final benefit for dual enrollment is to take classes that aren’t offered at the student’s high school. These students often want to accumulate college level credits so they don’t have to take these courses in college or they want to take a special interest course (ie., virology) that isn’t offered at their high school.

Dual enrollment can potentially affect the college application process.  If the student is taking an advanced course at a community college and getting an A then, yes, it for sure helps during the admissions process as this signals to the admissions counselors that the student is college ready! However, dual enrollment with mediocre grades won’t necessarily help nor hurt the application. Overall, dual enrollment isn’t a stand out good/bad flag in an application, but A grades are always the deciding factor. So, making sure that a student that is dually enrolled succeeds is critical.

Finally, when students are completing their college freshman application there is a section where they have to report all grades and transcripts from all institutions. Here they indicate their dual enrollment for whatever term(s) it was (ie., 10th grade spring term) as well as report the grade(s) received. They have to submit transcripts from the institution and their physical high school. So, a lot of attention must be taken to ensure that all of the colleges receive both their high school and second institution’s transcripts or else their college application will be marked as incomplete.

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