The Importance of Dual Credit and Pre-College Courses

Preparing for college can seem like a tough process.  After all, it is much different from making the transition from elementary school to junior high, or junior high to high school.  This is a whole new playing field, and it never hurts to be a little over-prepared for a completely new situation.  High school students will often shrink away from the idea of getting started with college courses early, but they can do a world of good and even improve your current schoolwork.

Local community college typically leave classes open to students as young as sixteen if they register with them during the normal registration period.  Classes take place any part of the year, but it is often good to take them in the summer.  Some high schools will even co-op with universities to have a professor come in and teach a class for both high school and college credit.  There are plenty of reasons to get a head-start on college, and these reasons vastly outweigh the reasons not to (if there were any).

Reason #1: Taking college courses early will improve your skills and work ethic.

By taking a class under an actual professor, you become more used to stricter deadlines and a college workload.  Most high school students will take classes such as English 101 and Calculus courses.  Not only do these challenge a student’s ability, but classes also become accustomed to taking responsibility for their actions and duties.  Also, writing a paper a week for an English course makes a Rhetoric course at the actual university seem much less scary.  By the time you get to your freshman year, you will already be seasoned in the ways of the college classroom.

Reason #2: College credit will look great on your college application.

On most college applications, there is an option to list which classes you took in high school, as well as any other college courses you may have completed.  Nothing makes a more impressive application than extracurriculars mixed with actual higher education experience.  Not only will admissions see you as a well-suited candidate, but they will also determine that you can already handle college coursework through your grades from either a dual credit or full course.  What is really says is, this prospective student is determined, mature and already able to handle the challenge a university poses.

Reason #3: Dual Credit and other college courses can be transferred to your future college.

With the help of useful sites (such as transfer.org), you can easily check if your pre-college courses will count as actual credit for your future university.  This makes it incredibly easy to clear as many general requirement (gen-ed) classes as you can before even starting your freshman year.  Thanks to advantages like these, college students are graduating earlier as more of them utilize dual credit and other courses before graduating from high school.  Plus, since most courses are offered by community colleges, they are often easier than full college courses and make the transition process much smoother and comfortable.

Reason #4: Dual Credit and community college courses are inexpensive compared to courses taken at four year institutes.

This reason fits perfectly together with the fact that a majority of the credit is transferred to your future college.  Your parents will thank you when your complete a few courses at home instead of at school, saving them hundreds of dollars in tuition and textbook fees.  The lowness in price also makes it even more sensible to take two courses at the same time to make the whole experience worth your time.  Speaking from experience, I am extremely glad I got my rhetoric and science gen-eds done in high school.  It saved me a lot of time and stress.

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Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Theatre. On campus, Tori can often be found working on various projects for Her Campus Illinois, acting in a production or reading. While at home, she enjoys working at her family’s restaurant or exploring with her friends.