College costs are rising faster than ever—and have been for decades. Increasingly, families find it a challenge to pay for school without resorting to costly student-loan debt.
The good news: there are ways to combat the rising cost of higher education. Imagine a trick that is the academic equivalent of doubling the bang for your higher-education buck. It is possible through dual enrollment!
You’ve probably heard the term before, but what exactly does it mean? Dual enrollment is when a student takes for-credit classes at two separate schools simultaneously. A top example is when a home-educated high school student takes courses from a local community college.
Particularly for homeschool students, dual enrollment is a fantastic option to consider. Here are six reasons why.
1. Dual enrollment is time efficient
This benefit is obvious. What’s not to like about earning double the credit for the same amount of work? Students who dual enroll have the opportunity to complete high-school credits and college credits at the same time.
2. Dual enrollment shows you’re ready for prime time in college
Having dual enrollment experience on your transcript shows a prospective admissions department at a four-year university that you’re ready for prime time in a collegiate atmosphere. This can be a huge benefit for homeschool students by proving that they can, in fact, survive and thrive in a traditional classroom atmosphere.
3. Dual enrollment keeps your costs down
Estimates are that former students in the U.S. owe over $1 trillion in student-loan debt. Worse, many of these students never even finished their degree, meaning they have a high-school diploma plus some college. Admittedly, that’s better than just having a high school diploma, but not by much.
We’ve already explored the fact that dual enrollment is time efficient. It’s also financially efficient. Chosen wisely, community colleges can be the best value for your higher education dollars, particularly for the first two years of school.
4. Dual enrollment prepares you for the more rigorous atmosphere of a four-year university
Particularly for homeschool students, dual enrollment can be useful during the high-school years since it gives students a chance to dip their toes into the college atmosphere. A traditional classroom setting is often different from the homeschooling experience, so that preparation can be useful.
5. Dual enrollment allows you to explore possible interests before committing to a four-year university
The number of students who go to school and end up switching majors is high. The number who graduate and go on to a career entirely different from their major is also high. So wouldn’t it be nice to test the waters before committing to a four-year university? Dual enrollment allows you to do that.
6. Dual enrollment is easier than ever thanks to online learning
The explosion in online education options means that dual enrollment for high-school students is easier today than it has ever been.
It might be too late to consider dual enrollment for your student who is posed to enter college, and that’s OK. A student can easily have a successful college career without the benefit of dual enrollment. But if you’re fortunate enough to still be in a position to consider this avenue, be sure to do so! Your transcript will thank you one day.