Dual Enrollment: The Benefits

Dual Enrollment is a program where students can gain college credits while still in high school. Despite the benefits of it, many students aren’t aware that Dual Enrollment is an option. And at Tantasqua, it’s easily accessible.

In this program, students can choose to enroll for one semester or two, traditionally during one’s senior year of high school. During this time, students wouldn’t be attending high school  classes, but rather would be commuting to their chosen community college. It is also possible to sign up for remote classes where the work is online and typically asynchronous.

At Tantasqua Regional High School, the easiest and most frequented option for Dual Enrollment is at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA. The ACE (Attend College Early) program would be the program selected in this scenario. Students may choose to select another community college or state college that also offers dual enrollment, and therefore the program type may differ.

But Why Apply?

Dual enrollment can be beneficial to those who want a taste of college classes or the atmosphere before officially graduating high school. Even if someone isn’t in the building for the school day at Tantasqua, students can still participate in high school clubs, sports, and events. For driven academics, a new college class and/or location could oftentimes mean more rigor and responsibility. Additionally, this program gives students a head-start in their career; graduating as a rising-sophomore in college as well as a senior from high school. The ability to transfer their new college credits to a four-year university is another added bonus for many looking to save on college tuition. In fact, the credits as well as rigor in a student’s academic record can make them stand out from other students in the admission process.

With this said, it’s important to remember that not all schools will accept dual enrollment college credits from a community college. Before applying to other colleges and universities – or even before signing up for the dual enrollment program – it’s important to check.

Another common misconception is that, although dual enrollment is highly accessible, it’s not free. In fact, it can be expensive. Those in dual enrollment are required to be full-time students at the college they’re attending. In Massachusetts, students who participate in dual enrollment aren’t eligible for financial aid or scholarship. This means that students and/or guardians have to pay for all four classes per semester, and the tuition and other fees can build up – even if using a payment plan. These expenses can add up to three thousand (or more) dollars per semester. Some schools offer free programs with local community colleges, which is something to look into, but unfortunately Tantasqua Regional High School does not at this time.

Dual enrollment is a program with numerous benefits that is worth considering if one can afford to do so. If students are curious and want to know more about it, guidance counselors can meet with each student interested and provide them with information regarding requirements (GPA, recommendations, applications, etc.), as well as any additional information to which they have access.

It’s never too late to start early!