Seven Reasons Your Teen Should Consider Dual Enrollment Courses

Dual Enrollment courses have been offered for well over a decade in many states. I’m a big believer not only because I graduated high school with 18 units of dual credit back in 2006, but also because of research that shows how it can help students earn a college degree.

Studies suggest that taking college courses in high school can increase the chances that both advantaged and disadvantaged students go to college and earn a degree.

Davis Jenkins, a senior research scholar at CCRC

Now, 15 years later, I love teaching dual enrollment courses at the college level and look forward to the special programs I get to teach in the summer that welcome our high school students to our college campus! If your student isn’t actively taking advantage of dual enrollment courses, here are seven reasons why he or she should consider it.

Dual enrollment courses can offer benefits for students. (Twenty20 @shannacobb_)

Seven reasons your teen might consider dual enrollment

1. Earn credit twice for work completed once

That’s right. The top perk of dual enrollment courses is students complete one course and get credit at both their high school and a college (either community college or university, depending on the institution the high school has partnered with). Who doesn’t love a two-for-one deal?

2. Reduced cost per credit

While there are tuition costs associated with dual enrollment courses, the fees are typically a fraction of the price of taking the same course a few years later at a college or university. While you should expect to pay a nominal fee per course (often a few hundred dollars), there are some programs and initiatives that might result in tuition-free dual enrollment courses. Check with your child’s high school guidance office for specifics!

3. Increased student support

Colleges and high schools put special systems in place to support dual enrollment students! This is one of my favorite aspects of dual enrollment programs. Students from each high school are often assigned a point person at the college in addition to the professor that can answer questions, check-in with students to ensure success, and collect data and feedback to constantly improve programs and courses. 

4. Exposure to collegiate level expectations

All parents worry to some degree about their child transitioning from high school to college. Will he/she manage his/her time well? Will he/she take advantage of office hours and student support services? What better way to help your child transition than to take one class at a time while he or she is still living at home? Dual enrollment courses give parents a greater opportunity to support students in the college transition and have meaningful conversations about their academic and social experiences. 

5. Major and program exploration

As a college instructor and career planning expert, one of my favorite benefits of dual enrollment courses is the opportunity for students to try a major or program. If you child is interested in a career in business, have him or her take an Introduction to Business course.

Lower-level major-related course work is frequently offered for dual enrollment. And, if it isn’t, start with another dual enrollment course (such as Math, English, or Art Appreciation) and consider taking an introduction level course during the summer session! Students no longer have to wait until their high school diploma is in hand to enroll in a few college courses.

6. Personal Growth

Enrolling in a college success or student development course is an excellent way for students to develop time management skills and organization skills. These foundational self-development courses that every college offers will not only help your child in high school but will also help him or her develop the autonomy he or she will need to be successful at college.

7. Early graduation potential

Finally, one of the biggest perks of dual enrollment courses is the possibility of early graduation from college. For parents, that means fewer semesters of high tuition and housing expenses. Alternatively, a student could use that extra semester to study abroad, complete an extended internship, or build in a gap experience!

Benefits of dual enrollment courses

The bottom line is dual enrollment courses are exceptional learning opportunities for students in a low stakes, low cost environment. If you are concerned about your child being successful at college in any capacity (academically, socially, or emotionally), dual enrollment opportunities are a great way to help your child transition. 

More to Read:

Is Starting College with a Ton of AP and Dual Enrollment Credit Hours Really a Good Thing?

About Loren Kelly

Loren Kelly has spent 10 years instructing in higher education after beginning her career as a high school teacher. She is passionate about helping young people identify a fulfilling career path and plan the academic and vocational training needed to accomplish that goal. Learn more about her at 

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