#1 College-Based Dual Enrollment
Hardly available five years ago, dual enrollment is hot now and growing in popularity. High school students enrolled in a dual enrollment program, are “double-dipping” a course for high school and college credit. As an example, a student may take English 101 at the local college, and the parent also “counts” the course as their 12th grade English class. It’s a fantastic opportunity if you’re aware it exists.
You’ll find dual enrollment information through your state’s Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook group, your nearest community college, private colleges, or your state’s higher education website. Colleges have opened their doors to high school students, and it’s an amazing opportunity. Dual enrollment is exciting because the student can enroll before earning their high school diploma or GED, which was previously not the case. Dual enrollment is a generic phrase, but most states that offer dual enrollment will have a program name. Examples of programs include Career and College Promise, Early College, Postsecondary Enrollment Option, Concurrent Enrollment, Dual Credit, Joint High School, Articulated High School, or others. The concept is the same, but the details will vary—sometimes a lot. A typical dual enrollment program is open to 11th, and 12th-grade students while meeting a high school diploma and college degree requirement simultaneously. They offer an assortment of classes and are open to
anyone with the ambition to succeed. The student attends class, online or in person, along with the regular college students. Some states offer this for free; others charge full tuition, so you’ll have to check your community. Registration for homeschool students is done directly with the college. If you’d
like, you can even search beyond your state. Many community colleges offer their distance learning courses as dual enrollment, so the location of the physical campus isn’t relevant. With nearly 2000 community colleges in the United States, this opens up a fantastic opportunity for homeschooled teens.
As a homeschool family, your teen’s participation in dual enrollment is often better than if they were in public school. In many states, the public school’s guidance counselor chooses which students and which courses are offered, and generally, only the top scoring students are eligible. As the homeschool administrator, you can choose whether or not your teen participates, and if they aren’t eligible to participate locally, you can choose to use a different college outside your state. If you want to learn it, it’s out there to learn! Though this isn’t the case in all 50 states, nearly every state has
determined that college courses taken for dual enrollment at a public community college are guaranteed to transfer into that state’s public university system. Not having that guarantee doesn’t mean that it won’t transfer, but having the guarantee is an added peace of mind! Even in these guaranteed transfer states, a private university often marches to their own drum and can reject the transfer of credit with otherwise excellent transferability.
Specifically, regarding college-based dual enrollment, most 4-year colleges do not “count” these credits when determining your teen’s status as a freshman until after they’ve enrolled. Once enrolled, the credit is brought over, usually their first or second semester. This method of counting is a nice little perk that keeps the freshman scholarship options on the table.
Every state allows dual enrollment of some kind, but most states do not have a state-wide policy. A few states do (Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, and others) but most of us have to do a bit of research to see if homeschool students can participate, and what the enrollment participation requirements are. Currently, most states require the student to pay some or all of their tuition, but there are a few forward-thinking states that have budgeted free dual enrollment tuition for their high school students attending public colleges. In instances where tuition may be free, you’ll still usually have to pay for textbooks, lab fees, or special clothing.
College textbooks are unimaginably expensive, and you don’t always have the choice to purchase used books. Anticipate paying at least $100 for a textbook and more if it has a lab. If you’re paying full price for your dual enrollment, community college tuition is usually the best value. To calculate a course’s cost, multiply the number of credits issued for the course, times the tuition cost per credit. A typical college course is 3 credits, while a typical foreign language or science course is 4 credits. A 4 credit course offered by a college charging $125 per credit = $500 cost for the course.
For parents who would rather find Christian-based dual enrollment, contact your favorite Christian college and ask. Two popular choices among Homeschooling for College Credit parents are Liberty University and Bluefield College. Both are Virginia based 4-year universities that offer dual enrollment courses for high school students starting in 10th grade. Both are regionally accredited (important for transfer), and both offer their program through distance learning.
The down-side to dual enrollment is simple, if your child bombs the class, the grade is on their permanent record at the college. Colleges require you to disclose all previously earned credit under penalty, so that “D” may count against future college applications, but for sure counts in their college GPA. For that reason, do not rush your child into a course before they’re ready, and consider taking only 1 course at first. Adjusting to a college schedule is difficult for most people of any age.
Lastly, in my college classroom where I’m an instructor, more than 90% of the “F” grades I’ve ever given out were simply a result of failing to withdrawal. The student simply stopped attending and didn’t officially complete withdrawal paperwork. This is an automatic (and permanent) “F” on a transcript. In other words, never allow your teen to stop attending class—even if it’s an “online” class. If your teen is not going to pass their class, for any reason, withdrawal from the course immediately. You may or may not get any of your tuition back, but you are protecting your GPA, which is more important. Always withdrawal your child instead of allowing a failing grade for the course.
For the motivated student, it’s possible to earn an entire certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree along with his high school diploma. The following states offer free dual enrollment options to homeschooled students at the time of this writing: Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
This content is reprinted from Chapter 2 of Homeschooling for College Credit 2nd Edition.
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