Will My Teen Benefit from Dual Enrollment?
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Choosing to homeschool through high school is a big decision with a lot of responsibility. Dual enrollment allows your student to take a college course both for high school and college credit. I want to give you a few things to consider when deciding if your homeschool teen will benefit from dual enrollment.

I love having the option of doing a few dual credit classes through the local colleges. Adjusting to these classes was more natural for my children than adjusting to the local public high school would have been. It provides a much-needed transition from homeschool to college. You can teach your child skills they will need for their first year of college like paying attention to the syllabus, how to word an email to the professor, finding and selling books, and staying organized.

A few courses during the high school years could literally save you thousands of dollars. Even if a student has a significant scholarship, it likely only lasts four years. If your student needs a fifth year to complete college, it could be costly. Hopefully, you have some idea the direction your student wants to go. If so, look up a detailed list of the courses they will need. Take classes from that list, especially those that are pre-requisites to other classes. Random courses might be fun and helpful for your high school plan, but they won’t help your student graduate college earlier. For instance, my student who wanted to pursue engineering took a dual credit math course every semester. My student who wanted to pursue health sciences took Anatomy & Physiology as well as Psychology.

Dual enrollment can strengthen your student’s high school transcript. Colleges realize that some high schools provide stronger educations than other high schools. I suspect they realize that every homeschool is different too. When you have some dual credits and CLEP listed on your student’s transcript, you give the admissions department more confidence that your child will be successful at their school.

You give your student a chance to learn under someone else’s guidance. I especially value the importance of this for writing courses. I plan to have all my students take “English 101” and “English 102” or “Writing I” and Writing II” dual credit. While I feel confident editing my students’ written assignments, writing has a very personal aspect that sometimes makes it hard for a student to take criticism. At this level, improving writing skills goes beyond correct grammar and punctuation. When I suggest edits for style, my kids think I want their writing to sound like mine.

If your student is considering a local college, it gives you a chance to “try before you buy.” College is a substantial investment of both time and money. Transferring can cost thousands of dollars in lost scholarships and thousands of more dollars in added semesters. Taking a course on campus can really help your student choose the best school. Your student gets a feel for the culture on campus, and it gives them an idea of what they are looking for in a school.

For a strong student, disadvantages of college credit are minimal. You might find that college classes don’t cover in depth what you would have covered. You might also find that you don’t have room for all the elective classes you wanted to teach. My students have been able to find classes in Christian Beliefs and Psychology that were from a Christian perspective. World-view classes might not be available from a Christian perspective, so you will need to know if your student is spiritually mature enough for that type of college environment.

If your student transfers to another university, his/her transferred classes will not likely count in the college grade point average. That can be a little bit of a disadvantage since many courses a dual credit student takes will be easier A’s. You might want to “save” some of those classes for college so your student can boost his/her grade point average higher.

Your student needs to be able to make an A in their dual credit classes. Especially if they are competing for scholarships or spots in competitive programs, you need to feel confident that getting an A is an achievable goal. (Exception: the second semester of a student’s senior year since college decisions have already been made.)

Finally, if your student takes dual credit classes, you need to be ready for a lot of letting go. Following up on your student’s homeschool assignments will be harder because the college classes with their strict deadlines will take precedence. Your student will be gone more during the day, and yes, your life will forever be different.

Is your child ready for dual enrollment? Are you?

Meet the Author

Cynda Moore - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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