Dual enrollment is when a high school student is enrolled in college courses. The completion of any courses counts as credit on the students high school and college transcripts assuming they obtained a satisfactory grade; a student must have a grade of "C" or better in a course for it to be transferable. Many people know about dual enrollment, but I was surprised to learn just how many people are not familiar with this during a recent trip.
Dual enrollment allows students to get a jump start on college and it usually cuts college costs significantly; however, there some caveats to dual enrollment. Some colleges and universities, such as Harvard, will not accept any transfer credits from courses that were taken as dual enrollment courses. If dual enrollment is being considered, it is important to check with the college where a student plans to attend to make sure they will accept dual enrollment courses.
If a student is looking at a potential scholarship for sports, or some other accomplishment, they need to check with the college and the sports association about dual enrollment credit and how that might affect their eligibility. The same is true for any scholarships that might be awarded to the student.
Accreditation is very important as well. Many, if not most, colleges will not accept transfer credits from colleges/universities that do not meet their accreditation requirements. It is equally important to check with the college the student hopes to attend to determine their accreditation standards.
There are various options for dual enrollment. One of my kids took dual enrollment courses at a junior college, while two of my other kids took dual enrollment courses online through an accredited college. The courses at the junior college were 16-weeks long, while the online courses were 8-weeks long. Another consideration when selecting a college for dual enrollment courses is how many courses they will allow a high school student to complete. Some colleges will only allow for a maximum of 12 courses, while other colleges allow for 24, and some allow students to complete an Associate of Arts Degree (AA). I've seen many high school students graduate with a AA Degree and then, two weeks later, graduate from high school.
Dual enrollment can be a terrific experience and great start for many high school students, but it's not for everyone. Many students want to focus only on high school. One isn't better than the other. The decision should be based on the individual high student and their current and future goals.