A dual credit program is one that finds 11th and 12th grade high school students enrolling in college courses and benefits these high school students saving them time, money, and more. When completing these college courses on a college campus the high school students are fully integrated into the college setting and they are building character along with a more successful transition to college personally, academically, and socially. Recently, dual credit has come under fire because high schools across the nation are overselling “dual credit” by actually hosting these courses on the high school campus undermining the true intent of dual credit and in the end, finding that credits earned this way may not transfer to colleges (see link below to Education Week article). Students are encouraged to protect the integrity of dual credit and the transferability of their college credits by choosing a dual credit program that enrolls high school students in real college courses, taught by real college professors in a real college environment to maximize their biggest benefits including:
Students who are serious about taking college courses in high school can save time on earning their bachelors or associates degrees after high school. Essentially, students will either take courses a la carte or part of a school that focuses on students that take dual credit. The latter is preferred to maximize high school academic plans and successfully transition students into college degree planning. It is very likely that a student who enrolls for two years in a dual enrollment program could earn anywhere from 40 – 70 college credits before they graduate high school. This is a savings of almost 1 ½ to 2 years of time towards a college degree.
Directly related to saving time is saving money. For every credit that a student takes and is accepted as a transfer credit, could be a savings of anywhere from $100 – $1000 per credit. This is a very wide range and so is the expense of going to college (depending on what school you choose to attend). Take for example, if a student successfully transfers 60 credits to a local college that is charging $100 per credit (that is cheap!) then the student just received an instant savings of $6000 for transferring all 60 credits. Alternatively, assume a student transfers those same 60 credits to a more prestigious school charging $30,000 per year. Intuitively, the 60 credits relate to two years of coursework or $60,000 to attend this prestigious school or $1000 per credit over the two years.
Students get a feel for what it means to successfully transition to college by being enrolled in dual enrollment program to build on a student’s transition personally, academically, and socially. Socially, students are interacting with other individuals of different ages (remember they are on a real college campus) that have the same motivation to earn a college degree. Academically, professors encourage students to give their opinion with facts rather than spew out information from traditional high school methodologies of rote learning. Personal responsibility is learned through interacting with professors in a professional manner and understanding that make-up work is not a “given” and that plagiarism is monitored at a much higher level and will result in an expellable offense on a student’s permanent record.
Students are cautioned that not all dual credit programs are created equal and how these programs benefit high school students will vary just the same. When choosing a best fit program remember that anything that will diminish college debt is a bonus, but also consider evaluating the dual credit program along with the college of your choice to make sure that the credits are transferable, and lastly, look for a fully integrated dual credit program with real college professors, on a real college campus, in a real college environment to maximize the dual credit experience.