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Taking College Classes in High School (Dual Enrollment)

Last updated December 8, 2022

Looking to be more academically challenged while cutting down on college costs? Consider taking college classes in high school (also known as dual enrollment)! Here's some important information about dual enrollment.

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Taking College Classes in High School (Dual Enrollment)

What is dual enrollment?

High school students that are dually enrolled take college classes in addition to the ones they take in high school. Dual enrollment programs are typically offered through local community colleges, and classes are taught either online or in-person.

How does it work?

Junior year of high school is typically when students enroll in dual programs. This allows them around two years, or until they graduate high school, to complete two years worth of college credits. These credits can typically be transferred to a four-year university after high school graduation, and can significantly cut down time spent there (and the costs that come with it). Most students who finish high school in a dual enrollment program graduate with their high school diploma AND their Associate’s degree.

If you’re considering dual enrollment, you will need to have a conversation with your guidance counselor to make sure that your high school course load won’t be affected, and that you can successfully manage all of your classes. Be sure to check with your local community college about the maximum number of classes you can take per term.

It’s also important to be aware of your financial options when considering these programs, as eligibility for loans, FAFSA, and scholarships may be limited. (Looking for scholarships? We can help.)

Is it a good choice for me?

Dual enrollment is a great option for high school students that want to:

  • Cut down on college costs
  • Be challenged more academically while in high school
  • Finish college earlier
  • Earn their Associate’s degree and begin working after graduating high school

Remember: when making any college decision, it’s important to talk to your parents/guardians and high school guidance counselor. They can help you explore your options and make an informed decision that works best for you.

Pros of dual enrollment

  • Dual enrollment gives you an early taste of college experience if you plan to transfer to a four-year university.
  • You’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for in the four-year university you plan to transfer to.
  • You can explore what you want to study in college earlier than most students.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to make friendships and connections with professors and classmates.

Cons of dual enrollment

  • Being dually enrolled may take up extra time on your schedule and can put you behind in your high school classes.
  • The credits you take while dually enrolled may not transfer to a four-year university.
  • Transferring to a four-year college with credits can affect your eligibility for scholarships and financial aid.
  • You might not be able to spend as much time with your friends outside of school. 

Where should I start looking for dual enrollment programs?

Here are a few places to begin your search:

  • Your high school
  • Local community colleges
  • Your guidance counselor

If searching online, here are some keywords and phrases you can use to start:

  • Dual enrollment
  • Taking college classes in high school
  • Dual high school credit programs
  • Running Start

Online dual enrollment programs to start your search:

Any questions about dual enrollment? Leave us a comment on Instagram @getschooled or text #Hello to 33-55-77!

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