Dual-credit programs, which are agreements between high schools and colleges, allow high school students to complete certain classes for college credit that also count toward their high school diploma. Students take the courses either at a college campus or at their high school, from a teacher qualified by a college to teach the course. High school students are wise to take advantage of dual-credit opportunities.
The simple fact that high school students can get both high school and college credit from one class is a major benefit. Students who take a number of dual-credit courses often enter college with most or all of their first-year credits in place. This increases the efficiency with which students can complete their college degrees. For students who want to carry on for a graduate degree, the path is also shorter to that end.
Taking college classes while in high school normally includes financial benefit for students and their families. Typically, the college pays its instructor of the qualified high school instructor to teach the class. However, the high school usually provides the funding for the students' courses. Thus, by starting college with 15 or 20 college credits, students and their families have fewer credits to pay for to earn a degree.
Dual-credit classes allow high school students a trial run in college. They can get a feel for the rigors of college coursework and get a sense of the culture of a college classroom. This can ease the transition from high school to college. Students get a chance to experience college while still living at home and having direct support from parents and friends. If a student moves away for college after high school graduation, she still has the stress of living away from home to confront, but she already has a sense for college academic expectations.
When high school students take college classes, they get to experience the standards of learning required of college-level students. For bright high school students, typical high school courses may seem easy or too slow-paced. A college-level class can provide a greater challenge and increased mental stimulation. And succeeding in dual-credit courses can show students that they have the intelligence and study habits to do well in college.