Demoted to Elective

Did your teen have a dual enrollment class later demoted to an “elective” at their target college? If you’re upset, I have 3 reasons you should reconsider your anger.

Your teen take SOC241 “Cultural Perspectives of the World” as a dual enrollment student through an online university. Upon sending his transcript to his target university, you just found out that this course won’t check the box for his “World Cultures” requirement, and will be “demoted” to an elective. You’re angry.

Don’t be.

In the world of degree completion, there are big picture concepts, finer nuanced concepts. Often the finer nuanced concepts are so hyper-specific, that it’s impossible to learn them all! In other words, what we know is true about ABC College, may not be true at XYZ University. That can be frustrating for HS4CC parents, especially when we give so much of our time to resourceful high school planning. If I could keep your attention focused on the big picture concepts, and not get too tangled up in the details, you’ll see that this reassignment (not demotion) is fine, and will still serve your son!

Tuition for electives is still tuition paid! This may seem obvious, but if your student has to take a class, the college isn’t going to to charge you less for electives. As such, this course STILL saved your teen money! If the college charges $1500 for a required course, they also charge $1500 for an elective. That they accepted the class means you saved tuition- no matter where they put the class.

All classes provide knowledge. I realize this is a little cheesy, but I genuinely believe that every class we take (our students take) is a seed in their knowledge garden and can leave a lasting impression. No class is wasted, but even when it’s categorized toward a credential differently than we expect, that class gives your student a little something “extra” that the rest of the students in his major won’t have the opportunity to learn!

University branding. This is not meant to be a criticism, but each university has a specific level of conformity that they are striving for in its graduates. This conformity is part of the brand, it’s part of what the university is “selling” when you enroll your student. Having their course reclassified as an elective means your student will have one more opportunity to take a class that contributes to that university’s brand. As an example, Harvard University doesn’t accept transfer credit. This is less of a cash-grab and more of an attempt on their part to promote their “brand.” Simply, they want their alumni to be a certain way, think a certain way, argue a certain way, and lead in a certain way.

Let’s not get carried away

If a course is accepted, it will save you time and money. That’s a win! My advice is to redirect your energy on the rest of your teen’s degree. Getting in is the easy part, but getting out takes a lot of hard work. Continue to help guide your teen, double check their advisor’s recommendations, and keep working hard to assure they are on track to get OUT of college with their degree!


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit