By Aaron Krause / July 1, 2017
If you're a high school student and itching to attend college, you may not have to wait.
Dual enrollment is an option that allows students to earn high school and college credit at the same time, possibly save money on college tuition and perhaps finish college early. But just because you want to be a dual-enrolled student doesn't mean you can be. You must meet requirements.
Eric Belliard, guidance director at Coral Springs High School, said dual enrollment is open to juniors and seniors at CSHS. In addition to being a junior or senior, you must possess at least an unweighted 3.0 grade point average. A student must also earn qualifying PERT college readiness test scores, or qualifying scores on the SAT or the ACT in English, reading, and math. You must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to continue in the program. If you fail a class, you're out.
"There's a big demand for it," Belliard said, referring to students hoping to be dual-enrolled. NBCMiami.com reported, and Belliard confirmed, that CSHS offers more dual-enrollment classes on its campus than any other Broward County school. CSHS offers nine such classes through an arrangement with Broward College and two through Florida International University. Belliard estimated about 13 percent of the school's student body is dual-enrolled.
According to the school's website, "CSHS Dual Enrollment Academy provides a venue for our students to take advantage of an accelerated curriculum. There are no costs associated with tuition, fees, or books. Smaller classes provide a more comprehensive classroom experience. In addition to providing a smooth transition from high school to the post-secondary education, dual enrollment reduces the time necessary to complete requirements for a college degree and can save parents money on college tuition."
"You're saving tons of money," Belliard said.
Terrence Sullivan, guidance director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, said students also benefit because, "it's giving them college credit and at the same time it's satisfying high school graduation requirement(s)." "It accelerates their college program," Sullivan said. Sullivan added it's not unusual for a dual-enrolled student to graduate high school having earned a full-year's worth of college credits.
Sullivan and Belliard said they don't encourage or discourage students from dual enrolling. They provide students and parents with information and let them make an informed choice. "We don't discourage it (but neither do we) actively recruit kids into dual enrollment classes," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said even some middle school students are dual-enrolled. However, he suggests students don't begin a dual-enrollment program until they are juniors. "Students who aren't ready for dual enrollment run the risk of having their college GPA negatively impacted," he said.
Belliard said he tries to make sure students don't overload themselves with courses. He said per Broward College policy, students can take up to 11 credits per semester as a dual-enrolled student. "Most Florida public universities within the state university system will accept dual-enrollment credits," Belliard said.
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