Learn more about dual enrollment, including the benefits and drawbacks of participating in a dual enrollment program as a homeschool student.
Dual enrollment programs have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for high school students to get a head start on their college education.
But what exactly IS dual enrollment? And why would you and your homeschooled teen want to consider it?
This post is sponsored by Thiel College. I was compensated for my time writing this post. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.
What Is Dual Enrollment?
Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students to take college courses and earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.
Students in a dual enrollment program typically complete college-level courses at a local college or university, and the credits they earn apply toward both a high school diploma and a college degree.
The goal of dual enrollment is to provide students with an early start on their college education and help them prepare for college-level coursework.
What Are the Requirements for Dual Enrollment?
The eligibility criteria for dual enrollment programs vary by state, institution, and program. This list of possible criteria will give you a feel for some requirements that various colleges or states may have.
Disclaimer: Please remember that your college or university of choice may not have all of these requirements, or they may have additional requirements not listed below. This list is not exhaustive. It is included only to give you a general idea of possible requirements.
Most dual enrollment programs require students to be at least 16 years old OR to have completed their sophomore year of high school.
2. High School Enrollment
Students must be enrolled in high school and may be required to be full-time students in order to be considered.
Students pursuing dual enrollment must have a strong academic record and maintain the minimum GPA requirement set by the college or university.
4. Standardized Tests
Some colleges or universities may require students to take standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT in order to be considered for dual enrollment.
Some dual enrollment programs may require that students live in a certain area or state to participate.
Are Homeschoolers Eligible for Dual Enrollment?
In a word, YES!
In some states, homeschooled students are considered private school students and are eligible to participate in dual enrollment programs just like any other high school student.
In other states, homeschooled students may have to meet additional requirements, such as providing a transcript or a portfolio of their high school work.
Again, it’s extremely important to check with the college or university offering the dual enrollment program for specific requirements. You don’t want any unhappy surprises down the road!
Learn more about dual enrollment for homeschool students at Thiel College!
What Are the Benefits of Dual Enrollment?
There are many reasons that self-motivated homeschool students may want to consider dual enrollment. Here are three BIG ones.
1. Save Time
Dual enrollment courses count for both high school and college credit. (You know, the whole “killing two birds with one stone” thing.)
Earning college credit during high school can help students complete their college degree sooner than they would have otherwise. Even a few dual enrollment credits can make a difference in the time it takes to complete college.
2. Save Money
High school students who complete dual enrollment classes usually don’t need to take as many classes in college. Not only does this save time, but it saves money, too.
Fewer classes = less money spent. (Common sense, right?)
In addition, teens are living at home while earning colleges credits, potentially saving on living expenses that would be incurred if they were away at college.
3. Gain Experience with College-Level Coursework
Homeschooled students can benefit tremendously from experience with college-level classes (and a teacher other than mom or dad).
Not only will they have a better understanding of what is expected in college, but they will also increase their confidence in their ability to handle college coursework.
If they find they are struggling a bit with time management or study skills, they will also have the opportunity to hone those skills before they enter college full time.
What Are the Potential Drawbacks of Dual Enrollment?
While dual enrollment programs offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that students and their families should consider.
It is important to be aware that not all colleges will accept dual enrollment credits. As a general rule, in-state public colleges are more likely to accept dual credit than out-of-state public colleges or private colleges.
Be sure to check with the college or university your child plans to attend to verify that dual enrollment credits will be honored.
Students in dual enrollment programs may need to pay for tuition, fees, and books, which can be challenging financially for some homeschool families. The important thing is to know the total cost ahead of time and plan accordingly.
Looking for financial aid? Thiel College awarded $21 million in scholarships in 2021. In fact, 99% of students receive some amount of financial aid. (They’re homeschool friendly, too!)
Taking college courses while still in high school can be challenging. Students will have to manage a heavier course load and workload. This can be especially demanding for students who are also involved in extracurricular activities or have other commitments.
On the flip side, high school is a great time for teens to learn time management skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
College courses are typically more challenging than high school courses, which may make it difficult for dual enrollment students to keep up with assignments. This could negatively affect their grades and stress levels.
However, many homeschooled teens are high achievers who thrive on challenging coursework. Dual enrollment can offer the perfect way to help them reach their potential.
Dual Enrollment Program at Thiel College
Thiel College is a small, homeschool-friendly college that offers an affordable education. Located in the small community of Greenville, Pennsylvania, Thiel College welcomes homeschool students into their dual enrollment programs.
Students participating in dual enrollment are considered part-time students and receive most of the benefits of part-time enrollment, including a Thiel student ID, use of the college library and computer labs, and student admission to various events.
Requirements for homeschool students are the same as for non-homeschooled students. No special hoops to jump through!
Why Choose Thiel College?
Thiel College has an impressive 11:1 student-faculty ratio, which benefits students by increasing their access to professors. In addition, faculty members are highly qualified, with 80% of them holding the highest degree in their field.
Another benefit of Thiel’s excellent student-faculty ratio is smaller classes. In fact, 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students, making it an excellent environment for homeschool students who may be used to smaller co-op classes.
Thiel College also boasts an excellent success rate, with 95% of graduates employed or continuing their studies in their subject area within a year of graduation.
For students who choose to continue their college education at Thiel College after graduation, there are a wide variety of undergraduate degree programs available in these areas:
- Business and accounting
- Health sciences
- Social sciences
- Math and computer science
Learn More About Thiel College
Want to learn more about Thiel College’s dual enrollment or undergrad programs? Click below for more info!