Education is a long road for any student. It's a quest filled with challenges, and takes up a lot of time. It's a commitment you make to better yourself and get you prepared for the "real world." And as you climb into the latter end of high school, you'll find there are options to make your journey a bit cheaper and shorter; all in exchange for an extra challenge.
Dual enrollment can become an attractive option for juniors and seniors in high school looking to get ahead, save money, and give themselves an extra challenge and more responsibility. As a dual enrolled student, prospective college students can get a better idea of the atmosphere they will soon enter. They can get a better taste of college and its demands, all the while getting a better idea of the major they may wish to study in higher education.
Students interested in the idea of dual enrolling, will often find both their high school and the university can help guide them in their decision-making process. For example, Cornerstone University -- a small, private university in Grand Rapids, Michigan -- makes sure the student is well integrated into the college classroom.
"We work with students to figure out class offerings and times," said Lisa Link, director of admissions at Cornerstone. "We register the students, help them get setup on the website, show them where classes are, get them the tools they need, and more."
Of course, dual enrolling means more responsibility. Extra classes means added coursework and devoted time to a schedule that may be near cumbersome. For universities like Cornerstone, it's important to accept students into dual enrollment with the means and track record to handle the challenge. At Cornerstone, Link said students apply to the program and get the high school guidance counselor to send a copy of their transcripts. To even be considered for the program, students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher.
The university reviews applications before accepting students. Then, it's about making sure dual enrollment works in the student's schedule. Whether they have open time in the afternoon or morning to get out of school, or just take night courses. As for picking out classes, Link said they steer their dual enrolled students to take more general classes among the 100 level.
"We tell them to take the general ones that are required at Cornerstone no matter the major," Link said. "Plus if they choose to go elsewhere, the credits transfer."
Most students understand that college is an expensive and big investment, so the more work they can do prior to becoming a full-time college student, the more it benefits them. Link said many students are able to carve out an entire semester of enrollment before their freshman year. That can be a huge money saver too, as the per credit hour price for dual enrolled students is only $125 at Cornerstone.
There are plenty of benefits to dual enrollment, as long as the student is able to take on the challenge of added responsibility and effort.
"I personally think that taking classes in high school at college is extremely beneficial," Link said. "You get into a class and know what the course load is like. You can start building early."
For more information on Cornerstone's dual enrollment program, visit www.cornerstone.edu/dual-enrollment.