Dual credit means earning college credit and high school credit for the same course. A one-semester college course equals a full-year high school course. If your child completes a college math course in one semester, it means they get one credit for math for their high school transcript.
I have had two kids so far get college credit in high school. My daughter took two Arabic courses online through BYU, a theology course, and a writing course from the local community college. She did them all online. She also got credit from the school she ended up attending by taking a summer intensive they offered for high schoolers for one credit. She ended up with 18 credits. Because of that writing course, she was able to skip her first semester writing course which enabled her to have a three-day weekend all semester. That was extra great because she goes to school just a half-hour away, so she spent her weekends at home with us!
My sophomore is taking German through BYU. They have an extensive language program. He’s also taking a dual enrollment business course through the local community college. He’s doing it all online. He gets college credit, and he stays home with us.
At our area community college, high-schoolers pay only 75% of the course cost! It’s college credit at a huge discount. I kind of wish I started him his freshman year. He did have to go in and take a placement test, but I sincerely think he would have been fine taking it a year ago. Community college courses aren’t known for being that hard. I think most EP kids would be able to excel in them. It’s mostly about doing the work.
Benefits of online college courses:
- college credit at a discount if using a local community college dual enrollment program
- courses you can’t offer easily at home (business, accounting, computer programming, graphic design, foreign languages…)
- show colleges that your child can handle college-level work
- practice at working with assignments, deadlines, other teachers’ expectations and grading systems
- some high schoolers really pursue this and get their associates degree by the time they graduate high school
- could be used to finish high school early since a year’s worth of high school material can get covered in a few months
Cons of online college courses:
- We haven’t experienced any cons really. There are warnings about what materials your child might use. If you are concerned about content, then stick to courses where that wouldn’t matter. In a similar vein, there are concerns about group chats for classes. We haven’t experienced those either. That’s something you could sit in on and watch the conversation, or again, avoid courses that use that if you are concerned.
- They are just a few years away from being out in the world. They need to know how to be in it and not of it. Maybe learning the discernment over content of books and conversation is something you want to work on while they are at home with you and not necessarily something to avoid.