As a parent of a homeschool student, caring for your child’s education becomes more nuanced as they get older. When your student enters high school, there is more flexibility in how they approach subjects. They’ve moved from understanding concepts to applying them in more complex ways.
This is also when your student starts taking deliberate steps towards their future career and any additional education they need to get there. Many homeschool families use dual enrollment to provide a flexible way to take those higher-level courses while also creating a pathway to the student’s career goals.
Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students, usually sophomores, juniors, and seniors, to enroll in college courses for credit while in high school. The courses available for dual enrollment are typically the general education, 100-level courses required for a college degree but that students often take as a junior or senior in high school. For example, students often take American Government in high school, and again as a freshman or sophomore in college.
Dual enrollment courses are college-level courses, so they do require more work and motivation on the part of the student. But earning college credit through dual enrollment is also significantly less expensive than traditional college credit. Successfully completing even one dual enrollment course can shave hundreds of dollars off the cost of a degree.
With jobs, social activities, and driving, high school students typically have a full plate. But there are many reasons why they should make room for dual enrollment courses.
Students get to degree courses faster.
Students who take a few dual enrollment courses are able to transition right into college courses that pertain to the career they want to pursue. A Computer Science major who took their English Composition courses as dual credit can get started on their coding and information security courses sooner. This helps them to be more engaged, motivated, and successful in their studies.
Students are taking the courses anyway.
Colleges require all students to meet core subject requirements no matter what degree they pursue. Courses such as Introduction to Communication and U.S. History I are often consistent across degrees. Your child will already be studying much of the same material for high school. Why not get college credit for it?
Dual enrollment looks impressive on a high school transcript.
It shows that students possess valuable skills such as time management, prioritization, and meeting deadlines. Plus it shows that they are able to handle college-level coursework.
Dual enrollment saves money.
Cost can be incredibly prohibitive when it comes to taking college courses. You can learn more about TEL’s mission to make college affordable for everyone here.
The courses are more rigorous.
Students are more academically challenged when taking dual enrollment courses. This can help keep your students from getting bored and settling into the just-get-by mentality that can crop up during high school. Plus it gives them confidence that they can be successful in college.
Dual enrollment saves time.
A student can earn up to two years of college credit before they even get out of high school. This puts your student on the trajectory to graduate early from college, and if they desire, they can even earn their master’s in the time it will take other students to earn a four-year degree.
Students learn in an environment they know.
Your child takes college courses in the support system they are used to. This gives you the opportunity to play an active role in helping them to understand and respond to different world views.
Your high school student has a number of learning options as they finish out their secondary education. Adding dual enrollment courses can benefit them no matter what their academic and career goals are. And because it’s an affordable way to earn college credit, it helps parents, too!