Welcome to Advising 101. In this series, we’ll highlight a key concept each week that will help YOU become your teen’s best high school guidance counselor. For Homeschooling for College Credit parents, this series will help you navigate resourceful high school planning with skill and confidence.
Topic #2: Matriculation
What is it?
Simply put, the word “matriculation” means your teen has officially and formally enrolled in a college as a degree-eligible degree-seeking student. This usually involves signing an agreement and paying money.
Why is it important?
Technically speaking, a high school student is a “non-matriculated” student (also sometimes called “special” student or “non-degree seeking”).
In the United States, colleges that are accredited all require a student have a high school diploma or equivalency (GED, HiSET, etc.) prior to admission. In cases where a student doesn’t have a diploma or equivalency, there must be a formal program in place that allows an exception to be made. Enter dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is actually circumventing the normal admissions requirements and allowing your teen the privilege of participating ahead of completing their diploma or equivalency.
This is why you’ll often encounter policies or programs for dual enrollment teens that may be completely different from a college’s regular program. Colleges with good dual enrollment programs usually have dedicated advisors that will help teens taking classes in this special category. As a HS4CC parent, you should be aware that if your teen continue at a college that they started in high school, it is not unusual to get a new advisor and fill out some additional paperwork. That is all part of the matriculation process.
- Non-matriculated students (high school students) are not eligible for financial aid. This is why dual enrollment teens do not fill out FAFSA.
- Non-matriculated students (high school students) will apply to college as a first-time incoming freshman no matter how many college credits they earned in high school.
Where do I find it?
The college admissions department. Apply as a first time incoming freshman. Your teen must be accepted to the college prior to becoming a matriculated student.