(And why should I participate?)
Have you heard your colleagues or friends talk about concurrent enrollment but wondered what it really is? Concurrent Enrollment (CE) is a nationwide trend in higher education to offer high school students the option of participating in college-credit courses taught by college-approved high school teachers on their high school campuses. Sometimes called “dual credit” or “dual enrollment” or “college in the high school,” students enrolled in these classes earn credit towards both high school graduation and college completion.
Here at ACC, we offer students a couple different options. One option is for students to take classes in their high school. Check with your counselor for courses available at your school. Our Concurrent Enrollment Office works with over 30 high schools across 8 school districts enrolling over 2400 students per semester. If a high school student discovers that the CE options on his/her high school campus don’t align with future career goals, a student may choose to take courses on our campus, with permission from their high school counselor, working with our Student Recruitment and Outreach Office.
So, why would a student want to participate in concurrent enrollment classes at their high school? One great reason is cost: they’re free! When taken at their high school, the cost of tuition for these classes is paid through the student’s home school district and the College Opportunity Fund (COF). With the sky-rocketing costs of higher education and the continuing need for employees with degrees, students have the opportunity to lower their overall cost of college tuition, potentially reducing any future debt.
Another reason for students to take advantage of concurrent enrollment is the advantage of experience. To enroll in a CE course, students apply for admission to the community college and begin their journey of higher education. As CE students in the high school, they learn key skills that prepare them to transition smoothly into a post-secondary institution.
For students who’ve long known about (and perhaps dreaded) those AP or IB courses, a CE student has the advantage of earning the credit immediately on successful course completion with a “C” or higher with no exit exam or post-test required. The credit appears on an ACC transcript as if the student had taken the course on our campus, and it can potentially apply directly towards a degree. If a student takes a CE course designated as a “guaranteed transfer,” the course will transfer to any Colorado public institution.
If we want to create better futures for our secondary students with clearer pathways to post-secondary degrees and sustainable careers, perhaps we should look closer at encouraging them to consider their concurrent enrollment options!
To learn more about ACC’s Concurrent Enrollment Program, visit our website.
by Shari Culver, ACC Concurrent Enrollment Specialist