Dual Enrollment: Jumpstart Your College Education

Students currently in high school searching to challenge themselves academically should consider dual enrollment options. Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college courses and potentially earn college credit early. Because these courses tend to be more rigorous, dual enrollments help bolster college applications and help make students ready for the college transition. From the MDCPS vantage point, Miami Dade College is perhaps the best and most well-known option. However, depending on your educational situation, you may be eligible for other paths. This post will deal with how you can make an informed decision to suit your needs and meet your standards. 

The goal of dual enrollment is to take advanced college courses simultaneously with high school curriculum. Dual enrollment is mostly for high school juniors and seniors and eligibility varies by school. It can be helpful to students looking to earn college credit while in high school and in some cases even graduate college in less than four years. Most dual enrollment opportunities take place on a college campus, giving a snapshot of what it is like to be a college student. There are online alternatives that may be better designed for what you hope to get out of your dual enrollment courses, but that depends on what is available in your area. Students can get detailed information from their school counselors about the specifics. 

Students in grades 6-12 enrolled in Miami Dade County public schools, participating private and charter schools, or home schools, are eligible to participate in MDC dual enrollment. Certain requirements apply. An unweighted grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and permission from the parent/guardian, school principal and counselor will get the ball rolling. It may also be necessary to demonstrate that you’ve passed the appropriate reading and writing sections of the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT). Also be sure to meet with the dual enrollment coordinator at the campus you wish to attend to ensure that all the paperwork is taken care of before classes begin. 

Concurrent dual enrollment is also good to consider. In these programs, students can take dual enrollment courses in their high schools instead of at a campus. When the school county makes an agreement with a college, some courses offered by high schools can count for college credit as dual enrollment. In the MDCPS case, these agreements are usually made with MDC and FIU. Depending on where you go to school, this option may be available and appealing. Usually this dual enrollment option means the student gets to take the class at the students’ own high school. The benefit of these kinds of dual enrollments is that they allow students to remain in a familiar setting while challenging them with college-level content. These courses are taught by college professors or approved high school teachers and are composed only of dually enrolled high school students. 

Whether you decide to do your dual enrollment at a campus or as a concurrent program, there are of course pros and cons to either. As a whole, taking a dual enrollment course will be beneficial in the long run. First and foremost, it will give you college credit at most state universities, thereby saving time and money in the pursuit of your undergraduate degree. Dual enrollment credits often count as general pre-requisites before declaring a major, so students get to explore courses for their major earlier in their college journey. Moreover, dual enrollment courses can open space for students to double major. Increased access to rigorous coursework, an advance on college credit, and potential exposure to a college campus are among the pros. 

Like anything in life, there are cons. Some universities do not accept dual enrollment credits. Also, scheduling and transportation issues can complicate dual enrollment experiences, especially for students who already have busy schedules full of extracurricular commitments. Despite the cons, however, dual enrollment stands out and definitely bolsters your college application file. 

In conclusion, dual enrollment is going to prepare you to be in college. It will also make you a competitive applicant when you apply. Consider your options and choose wisely. It’s fun to challenge yourself when you know the hard work will pay off. If you are looking to maximize the ways in which you can learn and bolster the rigor of your coursework, dual enrollment is the answer. 

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