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May 31 2017
by Marthena Phan

Why Taking Dual Enrollment Courses in High School is Worth the Extra Work

By Marthena Phan - May 31 2017

These days, there are a plethora of opportunities available for high school students to enhance their resumes and college applications, expand their knowledge in various subjects, challenge themselves academically or completely kill their social lives and sleep schedules. One of the most challenging, yet rewarding, of these opportunities is dual enrollment, which consists of students taking both high school and college courses simultaneously; the latter is typically taken on a community college campus. Despite the addition of extra stress and work to an already jam-packed schedule, dual enrollment ultimately offers a multitude of benefits for those who are brave enough to take it. Here are a few of those advantages.

1. You receive college credits that can be transferred to your undergraduate degree. 

Each dual enrollment course is a real college class on an actual college campus. Therefore, each dual enrollment class is worth a few college credits, which varies depending on the course itself. Regardless of the number of credits each class gives, dual enrollment ultimately allows students to complete basic prerequisite courses and requirements for a future undergraduate degree before high school graduation. Turned off by that pesky English class or that tedious college algebra course that your future college diploma requires? No worries! Through dual enrollment, you can take those courses in high school, thus eliminating the need to waste time, money and schedule space on them in college.

Dual enrollment also creates more time and room to focus on elective courses, especially those pertaining to your major or career aspirations. Additionally, dual enrollment presents a strong possibility of completing your bachelor's degree and graduating from college in less than four years, which depends on how many and which credits you received in high school. Early graduation enables you to either attend graduate school sooner or enter the workforce and begin getting that cash flow earlier!

2. Exposure to and preparation for college and university.

Since it takes place on a college campus, dual enrollment gives you the unique opportunity to explore and adapt to various aspects of college as a high school student, including the classrooms, labs, professors' and advisors' offices and on-campus student resources and facilities. In your dual enrollment classes, you are taught by professors, many of whom have earned high-level degrees, conduct their own research projects and possess a great amount of knowledge and expertise in their subjects. Throughout your time in dual enrollment, you frequently communicate with your professors, whether it be emailing them about a homework assignment or visiting them during their office hours. Thus, dual enrollment helps you build communication and social skills essential for collegiate success through not only interactions with your professors, but also through collaboration with other college students.

Additionally, as a dual enrollment student, you learn how to effectively ask for certain services and resources from school administration, which includes registrars and advisers, and how to use online college systems such as Blackboard, student accounts on the official college website and class registration software. Dual enrollment also helps you adjust to a college schedule and its various facets, including productively managing free time in between classes and navigating through a large college campus when switching classes. Overall, dual enrollment not only equips you with the necessary skills needed to be successful in college before you actually attend one for your undergraduate education, it also enables you to gain a sense of responsibility and independence, which are crucial for post-secondary institutions and beyond.

3. Enhance your college applications, resumes and overall educational experience.

Because dual enrollment is taken along with your high school classes, it contributes to a heavier and more demanding course load, which will be reflected on your transcript. A transcript with good grades in challenging coursework portrays you to colleges as a diligent, passionate, determined and courageous student and learner who isn't afraid to take risks, which can raise your chances of being accepted to certain schools and programs. A record of dual enrollment on your resume depicts your versatility and willingness to go beyond what is expected, which employers love to see when hiring new employees. Dual enrollment also makes you a more eligible and worthy candidate for scholarships and internships by setting you apart from other students who have not taken dual enrollment.

In addition to its school and work-related benefits, dual enrollment enables you to enrich your educational experience by allowing you to choose from a diverse range of college courses and ultimately become more knowledgeable in various subjects. You may even discover new interests and develop a passion for learning when taking these courses. And, of course, dual enrollment boosts your weighted GPA, which not only looks great on your transcript but also brings you one step closer to possibly becoming valedictorian!

With its cornucopia of both academic and personal advantages, dual enrollment is most definitely worth the additional difficulty and toil. Earning an official college credit before receiving your high school diploma is a spectacular achievement that not many have experienced. But most importantly, you will be very prepared for the actual best four (or less) years of your life: College!

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Marthena Phan - Florida International University

Hi! I'm Marthena Phan, and I currently attend Florida International University as a Biology major with minors in Chemistry and English. Although I ultimately aspire to attend medical school and pursue a career in developmental and behavioral pediatrics so that I can treat special needs children and youth, I harbor a steadfast passion for writing, which I eagerly look forward to sharing with other writers and readers through the diverse and dynamic Fresh U platform. In addition to medicine and writing, I love singing, playing the guitar and ukulele, reading, swimming, relaxing on the beach, bike riding, and jamming out to oldies. I am beyond excited and overjoyed to be part of the Fresh U family!

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