In my experience, dual enrollment was the highlight of my highschool career; I was excited to be one full year ahead of most of my peers. This occurred during the age of full digital learning, so I was only on campus a handful of times that year, but I truly felt like a real college student. In my composition class specifically, I was immersed in the college writing experience; I wrote essays and always peer reviewed, which is a heavily relied on process in college. I met with other college students who were always willing to help make my paper better, and I reciprocated. My peers who were also in the program enjoyed it, and found it easy to flow into college culture, which is a concern for some. With that, I would advise that it is important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and getting used to a new way of learning will not come overnight. The transition to college approaches one quickly, so while dual enrollment may make it easier, it does not mean everyone needs to go about entering college in that manner.
Dual enrollment is a program that allows students in high school to take college courses simultaneously with their regular highschool courses to earn credit for high school and college all at once.. Not only does it sound impressive, but it also allows the student to get an idea of expectations of collegiate education. Most of the sponsoring high school institutions would pay for these students to attend college courses, like mine did. Students would then attend class at the university or within their high school, depending on where the schools are located. These students then are able to get somewhat of an experience being a college student by being immersed in an accelerated learning environment. Though this idea does sound like a great opportunity, and is (based on my own experience), the decision of pursuing dual enrollment does not make or break college applications or overall collegiate careers. You can still be successful in college without having to jump the gun. You can still be successful in college if you did jump the gun.
Those who participate in dual enrollment courses during high school are automatically ahead in comparison to their peers who do not, but only by a few credits. Having taken a certain course during high school, such as College Composition, for example, then a student will be able to skip over a remedial course upon entering their next year in college. Staying with the idea of taking a collegiate writing course in high school, it allows the student to be exposed to the next level of writing that will be expected of them. Caroline Wilkinson, an assistant English professor at New Jersey City College, stated that participating in dual enrollment at one college can create false expectations of collegiate writing if the student decides to attend another university. Though each college is different, the basic difference between secondary and post-secondary writing is generally the same: broader vocabulary, more intricate thought processes, and heightened clarity. It will be easier for this student to adhere to their college’s specific standards in comparison to a brand new freshman college student. Though, it is important to remember that learning how to write in a collegiate fashion is an attainable goal, and past schooling should not come to haunt.
Dual enrollment has been shown to positively affect students in numerous ways academically. Research by Brain P. An, an assistant professor with the University of Iowa has demonstrated that dually enrolled students will have improved study habits and greater motivation to attain a degree in comparison to students who are not and overall are less prepared for college. Additionally, students are able to get a firsthand experience of what it means to be a college student regarding student environment as well as scheduling. Though a college schedule may be better for some students, like the shorter class times or even a bigger class size, it may not be helpful to all students, as it may throw some for a loop when they realize they will not have the same amount of time or attention with peers or teachers. A supportive classroom environment is crucial for students’ development, so if that were to be cut short, and this would happen a year or two earlier than a regularly paced high school student, it may not be as beneficial as one may think. Dual enrollment can also be difficult for instructors as well, as they may not be accustomed to teaching high school students, let alone a mixture of different grade levels. Overall, dual enrollment is something that can either be really helpful, or really not. Looking at the bigger picture, some may not want the extra load of work and stress that a college student handles daily and would much rather have a fun final year of highschool with their friends. Therefore, it is up to the student to be open to the differences in higher education, and the instructor to be flexible enough to deal with high schoolers. Though, once the stars align, dual enrollment can be a great learning opportunity for those who wish to get ahead.
Dual enrollment comes with many different opinions of whether or not it is worth a student’s time. If the student feels ready for the next step a year or two earlier than scheduled, they should take the leap of faith and give college life a try. The whole idea of school is to teach and support the next generation, so accessibility of higher learning at an earlier age is important and should be woven into more school systems. Though, college students who did not take part in dual enrollment, either because they did not want to or because it was not accessible, should not fret about their journey thus far. Attending college already is such a grand feat that one should be proud of, and to be able to share that with and inspire younger and eager students is a great opportunity for both parties.