Why should your high school student take dual enrollment classes?
Have you seen how expensive college is? Do you like to save time and money? Dual enrollment classes for your homeschooled junior or senior might be the option you are looking for!
We homeschooled three of our five kids. When our homeschooled son was a senior, he took dual enrollment English. It counted as his high school English credit, and it could have earned him college credit if he had passed the class!
I’ll come back to that in a minute.
Our youngest two took dual enrollment in their junior and senior years. This enabled one of them to finish college in three years, and the youngest will enter college this fall with seven classes under her belt.
Who should take dual enrollment?
Remember our son who didn’t pass English 101? I am not saying it is an easy class, but apparently you have to turn in your work! I took this as a learning experience (although it was frustrating). Considering I’m an adjunct instructor at the same college, I felt he could have asked for my help. But he didn’t, and he even owned up to what he did – or didn’t do.
A few things that can help you determine if your student is ready for dual enrollment:
- Learning style
- Responsibility level
As homeschooling parents, we tend to think our child is brilliant (and they are), and that they are totally capable of anything. It is good to be realistic, though. Has your student ever taken a class or course from another teacher? Maybe even at a co-op? How did they do? Do they understand their responsibility in what and how they learn, can they take directions from someone? Can they stay on task and complete the assignment?
Learning style is important too. Colleges don’t make many allowances for differences in learning style. Again, being honest with yourself and your student about what they can do is important.
What should they take?
Gen Eds – general education requirements – are a good place to start with dual enrollment. If your student knows where they might go for college you can check and see what gen eds are required. They’re fairly typical1:
- Arts & Humanities – intro to art or music, intro to philosophy or ethics
- English/Literature – basic English classes teach how to write essays which is a vital skill for college
- History – U.S. history or Western Civilization
- Math – many colleges use the student’s ACT or SAT for dual enrollment course placement. It can be a good idea to back up a math level if you think your student is missing basic skills
- Science – intro to biology or general chemistry can be fun at the college level
- Social Sciences – intro to sociology, public speaking, intro to world religion
Why take dual enrollment classes?
Some feel that high school students should just enjoy high school and not add in college-level classes. I understand that, but I don’t agree. Why? Well, the benefits of course!
- First of all, it gives them the chance to learn from someone else. This provides the opportunity to succeed and fail. Just like with my son, some kids will not do what they should. I do believe it is better to learn this now before “real” college begins. In the long run, failure can be a great motivator.
- It can save you and your student money. Some states offer free college-level classes or some kind of scholarship.
- Your student can save time in college. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is 120 credits, so the more you have gotten through dual enrollment when you start college, the less time it will take to finish your degree.
- Dual enrollment courses can give your child the chance to study something they’re interested in that you might be unable to offer.
- Life skills – I cannot stress this enough. Your student will learn life skills while still living under your roof and in the relative safety of home. These skills include organization, time management, how to study, responsibility, and more.
Information for you
Dual enrollment courses, requirements, and policies can vary widely by state. The Education Commission of the States has a wonderful information page that gives state-by-state guidelines.
In many cases, your student must have taken the ACT or SAT to take dual courses, and there is often a minimum GPA requirement. Another great website for dual enrollment programs by state is CollegeVine.
Just Googling “dual enrollment” nets about 97,000,000 results! That can be overwhelming, but I suggest you start with your local community college. Look at their website for the dual enrollment counselor. You can also call or visit the college and take your high school student with you! I ask lots of questions of our counselor, and they are wonderfully patient. I think you will find dual enrollment to be a great addition – in saved time and money as well as educationally – to your child’s schooling.
About the author:
Jen Dodrill has been married 34 years, is a proud mom to 5 kids, and she homeschooled the youngest three. The “baby” graduates in May, but Jen refuses to bow to empty-nest syndrome! She teaches Oral Communication as an adjunct instructor and writes curriculum under History at Home at TeachersPayTeachers. When she’s not working, she’s spending time with her kids and adorable granddaughters. Connect with her on her blog – Jen Dodrill History at Home, Instagram, Facebook, and her favorite place – Pinterest!
Resources for Homeschooling High School
True North Homeschool Academy has some high school resources you may not be aware of, so we thought this would be a great place to mention them. Learn more about high school testing here. If you want to know more about other ways to earn college credit early, such as the CLEP exams, you will find essential information in this article. For students who want to accelerate their career, you can read all about tools that will prepare them for that in 21 Ways to Accelerate Your Career.
Don’t forget that our experienced Academic Advisors are available to answer all your questions and help guide you and your student to high school, college, and career success.