When a high school
student takes college courses while in high school, it’s called dual
enrollment. Dual enrollment courses count for both high school and college
prefer AP courses, dual enrollment is often a better option for homeschoolers.
Not only is community college more readily available, it shows colleges that
your homeschooled child is capable of managing a college class.
Dual enrollment puts
your child’s transcript through the rigor test that colleges use to evaluate
the difficulty of high school work. It beefs up the high school transcript and
lends credibility to your child’s homeschool GPA.
Dual enrollment also
gives your child a head start on college graduation by giving him actual
college credits. But keep in mind, he is also entering college with a college
My daughter took all
her dual enrollment courses online through Liberty University. She watched
lectures on video, interacted with classmates on a forum, took timed tests,
wrote papers, and filmed speeches that she uploaded. All four courses she took
were accepted for credit at the University of Georgia. Because she made A’s in
her dual enrollment courses at Liberty, she entered college with a 4.0.
colleges are a more expensive option than community college courses. However,
it worked better for my daughter to pursue the online option because she needed
the flexibility that accommodated her ballet schedule. The environment at
Liberty also nurtured and supported her Christian beliefs.
Taking courses at a
local community college can be a good way to transition from homeschool to
college. Your child will learn how to navigate college life—ordering books,
handling registration, and utilizing professor hours and tutoring services—while
living at home.
Your child might also
have an opportunity to join groups and organizations in his area of interest.
For example, one homeschooler joined the newspaper staff, enabling her to gain
experience and polish her resume.
However there are
some cautions to consider, and the most important one may surprise you:
If your child is
strong in a particular area of interest, it is wise not to have him
take that course for dual enrollment. Why? Because you want your child to enter
his four year college taking the freshmen level courses in his area of
interest. Not only will the subject be taught differently at a four year
college, you want your child to stand out to professors in his area of interest.
If your child completes entry level courses at a junior college, he may end up
as an 18 year old in a classroom with 20 year olds. Even if your child is strong
in the subject, he will be at a disadvantage and his great aptitude will be
overlooked. This would be a disservice to your child.
Think of it this way:
If your child wants to be a biologist and takes Biology 101 at a junior
college, then enters a four year college and takes Biology 201, he might not be
adequately prepared. He will seem like a struggling student rather than the
bright stellar student he really is.
It’s best to get
those courses he doesn’t love out of the way by dual enrolling. That way, when
he gets to college, he can focus on the courses he does love.
Here are some other
cautions to consider when deciding whether or not to dual enroll:
If your child does not do well, it
becomes part of his permanent college record and will affect his ability to get
into a four year college.
Most major universities are particular
about which credits they accept from community colleges. The courses must match
their course descriptions and be considered rigorous. Thus, your child’s
credits may not transfer.
Some college professors have no qualms
about discussing casual sex, drugs, and alcohol in a positive way.
Some college professors are adamantly
against anything that resembles religion. Your student might have to exercise
caution when expressing his opinion in both class and in writing assignments.
One student was chastised by her professor because she had a Scripture in the
tagline of her email.
Some fellow students may exhibit
behavior and vocabulary that are offensive.
So is your child
ready for dual enrollment? Spend some time in prayer, talk it over with your
child, and decide the best course to take. Most colleges require students
to have taken the SAT or ACT to dual enroll. So if you intend to dual enroll in
11th grade, be sure to take one or both of these tests well in advance. Some
states, like Georgia, will pay some of the expenses incurred when your student dual
enrolls. Most community colleges and universities have their dual
enrollment guidelines online. If you have any questions, call the admissions
office. They’ll be happy to talk to you about their dual enrollment program.
Whether or not they
dual enroll, remember, God has a great plan for your child’s future. If you do
not feel led to begin college early, that’s because it isn’t the right course
for your child.
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. Psalm 40:5