When it comes to getting a head start on college, motivated high school students have options – dual enroll in college courses or enroll in AP or dual-credit courses.
What’s the difference?
AP courses are standardized high school courses that are roughly equivalent to undergraduate college classes. Dual credit courses stem from agreements between high schools and colleges, while dual enrollment allows high school students to enroll in college courses for credit prior to high school graduation.
“There are benefits to both, but dual enrollment courses at SCC are widely transferrable within the state of Missouri and many times other states as well, whereas many college and universities accept only certain AP credits and require minimum scores to do so,” said Tara Patton, academic counselor at St. Charles Community College.
Through SCC’s dual enrollment program, high school juniors or seniors may enroll in college-level classes and start earning college credit. The credits earned will be recorded on an SCC transcript and may be used to fulfill degree requirements at SCC or at a transfer institution’s discretion.
Students who dual enroll during high school give themselves a leg up on their college journey. “Senior year of high school rolled around, and I was looking to challenge myself,” said Katie Legate, SCC alum. “When I heard about the option to dual enroll at SCC, I knew it was the right path for me to take.”
“Dual enrollment allows students to get their feet wet in the college classroom prior to enrolling as a freshman,” Patton said. “It can help ease students’ minds and make the transition to college easier.”
Dual enrollment enables high-schoolers to build a strong base GPA before becoming a full-time college student. It also provides them the opportunity to take classes not offered in high school and the flexibility to explore areas of interest for possible majors or careers.
“When I graduated high school, I was already a whole semester ahead of my friends,” Legate said. “I felt super prepared to attend another semester at SCC and eventually transferred to the University of Central Missouri.”
In order to be eligible for dual enrollment, students must have written permission from their high school counselor or principal, have at least a 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) high school grade point average, be enrolled in six high school credit hours or in math or English courses required to complete the SCC Assessment, have the signature of an SCC counselor and have completed the dual enrollment application form.
“Dual enrollment is not only a great way to begin college classes,” Legate said. “It’s also really quite fun. I enjoyed having the freedom to leave my high school classes at noon everyday so I could attend my college classes at SCC. I really felt like dual enrollment gave me the boost I needed to realize I was capable of so much.”