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Deciding to take advantage of Dual Enrollment at my high school and local community college was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. But with that being said, what exactly is Dual Enrollment? According to the South Carolina Technical College System, “Dual enrollment offers eligible high school students the opportunity to enroll in college coursework to earn both high school and college credit.” These credits can often be used towards certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Although this program hosts lots of benefits, there are also challenges that come along with the experience of being a dual enrollment student. Today, I will list out the most important advantages and challenges of participating in dual enrollment.

Advantages

1. SAVE time and money

This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of being a dual enrollment student. A lot of students take enough courses which allow them to then spend less time at a four-year institution. As an example, I will only be spending 1.5 years (3 semesters) at Winthrop due to the fact that I received my Associates degree during high school. Also, many community colleges offer lower tuition and fees which are considerably cheaper than paying to attend a university. By saving this money during high school, past dual enrollment students graduate from undergrad with a lower amount of debt when compared to other students.

2. Build your resume

There are many opportunities to get involved on campus at your local community college. Some of the extracurriculars may even be similar to the ones offered at your high school. You can try to get involved by joining the student government or finding an internship or chartering your own club. The possibilities are endless and they all contribute to your resume as they showcase your seriousness about becoming involved at both your high school and college.

3. Head start on networking

College is the perfect place to learn all about the importance of networking. By networking with other students, faculty, professors, or executive leadership, you can open yourself up to making lifelong connections with others who may share similar passions or goals. Learning how to network at such a young age is a very importance life skill and will help you set yourself apart when applying for a job or trying to find new opportunities.

Challenges

1. navigating through that “middle stage”

You are in a very unique situation after graduating high school and transferring to a four-year institution. Sometimes it may feel overwhelming and lonely because you don’t fall into the two basic categories: first-time freshman and transfer student. You will have a lot of prior knowledge that many of the freshman might not have such as how to register for classes or plan out your degree requirements. Alongside, you may also be required to still take those freshman college-specific courses because you are not fully considered a transfer student. Although it may sometimes feel very lonely and frustrating to be in this position, remember that there are many other students like you who are trying to find their “place” too. Stay positive and be uniquely you.

2. it will be time-consuming

Many students go into college courses feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of time that it takes out of your schedule to complete all of the required material. College courses are a lot more challenging than high school classes and often will take up a lot more time than you might be used to. Although this can be difficult to adjust to in the beginning, you can be successful in balancing your education, extracurriculars, and personal life. College is very time-consuming but it doesn’t take up your whole life if you learn how to manage your time in an efficient way.

3. college choice is somewhat limited

Many students decide to transfer their credits to a four-year university after graduating from high school. While this can be very beneficial, it can also be a very confusing and disastrous process if not done correctly. Many public and some private institutions have pathways in place to accept transfer credit. However some schools do not accept all dual enrollment credits that a student might choose to take. Ensuring that you understand your chosen universities’ transfer credit policy will help lessen the possibility of confusion throughout the transition and is one of the most important steps in choosing your next steps.

Overall, I think that dual enrollment is a great opportunity for students to take advantage of during their high school experience. It may be challenging to adjust, especially in the beginning, however the experiences and benefits that you will gain will forever outweigh the difficulties that one might face.

Literature Cited:

  • “Dual Enrollment.” SC Technical College System, https://www.sctechsystem.edu/students/dual-enrollment.html.
Shea Linton

Winthrop '23

Junior Biology Major at Winthrop University Class of 2022.5
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