Requirements, Transcripts, and Dual Credit, Oh My!!! Part 3
As promised, here is the third and final post in this series. I am sorry it took me a long time to get this one to you!
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Disclaimer: Dual credit is NOT the same as the CLEP and AP exams. That is completely different and honestly, I don’t know much about it because the schools to which my kids applied kind of frowned at them. Just my personal experience.
What is Dual Credit?
Dual credit (DC) is when you take a college-level class and it counts for both a high school and a college credit. This not only saves you time, but it can save you thousands of dollars, especially if you live in an area like mine in which tuition is free for dual credit classes. Yes, you are still responsible to pay fees and purchase your books, but tuition can be free or discounted depending on the college from where you are taking these classes.
Dual Credit Saves Time
Every DC class you take eventually shaves off time you have to spend at a 4-year university. If while still in high school, you take 12, 16, or 18 hours, that is an entire semester you don’t have to spend at a 4-year university. If you take 30+ hours, that is an entire year! Statistics show that students who enter a 4-year university with DC classes already on their transcript are more likely to complete their degree. More information on the benefits of DC can be found in the Community College Research Center. For our family, this has definitely been the case. My oldest child decided to change her major between her sophomore and junior year. This meant she had to take some extra classes. Had she not already transferred over 30 hours, she would have more than likely had to spend an extra semester or year at Baylor which would have also meant more $! Transferring over 40 hours of DC, my second child will be able to graduate in 4 years with both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees allowing him to go into the workforce sooner. Not only can DC save you time, but as you can see, it also saves you money!
Dual Credit Saves $$$$$
Regardless of whether you choose to attend a state or a private university, if DC can save you time, it can also save you money. Not only tuition but room and board along with travel expenses. We could probably end this discussion right here, right?
When and What?!
“When should I enroll my child in DC?” is a very common question. You know your child better than anyone, which is probably why you are homeschooling to begin with! I took into account both their academic ability and their social and spiritual maturity. Most community and junior colleges have an entrance exam that your student can take to help you determine if he or she is ready for college-level material. At our local community college, there is no limit in the number of classes a DC student can take. However, I strongly recommend not starting with more than 2 classes, so between 6 to 8 credit hours max. I start my kids in classes within their strengths. This will give them time to acclimate and get used to what is required of them.
Wait! I thought…
Because rules seem to change every year in regards to what classes to take and how many hours one can take their first semester, I highly encourage you to contact the DC advisor at your local community or junior college from where you plan on taking these classes and get any updates necessary. The sooner you do this, the better. That way you don’t miss registration deadlines and class availability.
Will These Classes Transfer?
What good is it to take a class that will not save you time and money because it didn’t transfer to the university from which you plan on receiving your degree? Most larger colleges and universities have an “Equivalency Tool.” This will save you time in figuring out what DC classes to take and make sure they will indeed transfer. There are two ways to search for classes: by entering the class from your community college and seeing if there is an equivalent in the school you plan to transfer, or by entering a class you will need to take at the school you plan to transfer and seeing if there is a class that will take its place at your local community or junior college. Because I am very familiar with Baylor University’s Equivalency Tool, I will use it in my example.
When my daughter first decided to go to Baylor, her major was going to be Entrepreneurship. So I searched on Baylor’s website to see what the 4-year plan looked like, and this is what I found.
The first class listed on the above document is ENG 1302. I entered the information needed into the equivalency tool by using the “Search by Baylor Course” to see if an equivalent class is offered at Lone Star College and found an equivalent course which was ENGL 1301. Because this is an equivalent class, it will transfer, so I encouraged my kid to take it.
Going down the list, I discovered which classes would transfer and which would not to quickly help my child come up with a game plan. You can also do a reverse search by using “Search by Outside Institution” in which you enter the class offered at the community or junior college and see if the school you want to attend has an equivalent.
Most major universities have this tool. Here is the one for TAMU.
Yes, I know. Not nearly as pretty as Baylor’s. Is it? 😉
I hope this all makes sense and hopefully will help you decide what to do in regards to DC. Please do not hesitate to ask questions in the comments below. If you found this helpful and would like to get updates when a new post comes out, please subscribe by entering your information for the blog subscription.
In His grace,