Should High School Students Take College Classes?

Dec 17, 2019

Can You Take College Classes In High School?

It is possible to take college classes while you're still in high school. The process is known as dual enrollment.

Dual enrollment enables students to take college courses and receive high school and college credit at the same time. They can be offered at a high school but often students attend classes at a local college campus. Online high schools also partner with colleges for dual enrollment.

Dual enrollment is different from advanced placement, another college credit option. AP courses are high school courses that teach college-level subjects; they can sometimes result in college credit, but generally, AP courses enable students to skip college general education course requirements.

Benefits of Taking College Classes in High School

Taking college courses in high school can be difficult and may require a lot of time, but they can have a significant positive impact. Read on to learn about some of the benefits of dual enrollment.

College and Career Preparation

The jump in academic rigor from high school to college can be a difficult adjustment. Students who take college courses in high school can get a feel for what will be expected of them in a postsecondary program. According to research, dual enrollment programs can:

  • Equip high school students with knowledge and skills required for college
  • Boost students' aspirations
  • Assist low-achieving students in meeting academic standards
  • Decrease need for remedial courses in college
  • Increase students' persistence in college
  • Help disadvantaged students

There are also benefits to a student's future career. Career technical schools that participate in dual enrollment offer a seamless transition to career technical colleges. Research also suggests that high school students earning college credit learn more about career planning and have more focus on their future careers.


Taking college classes in high school can save time for students. When they earn college credit, they won't have to take as many courses when they're actually in college. This means they can graduate college sooner and get an early start on their career or spend that extra time another way. Depending on how many courses are taken, dual enrollment could help students meet course prerequisites for accelerated degree programs.


Earning college credit in high school not only saves you time but also money. College courses that are a part of the dual enrollment program generally cost less than if they were taken normally. In fact, many are completely free, which can add up to thousands of dollars saved. This translates to less tuition and, for many students, less debt when they graduate, a benefit that can't be overstated.

How to Take College Classes in High School

College classes for high school students are offered a few different ways. Students can take them on-site at their high school, go to a college campus, or take them online. Below are some steps to take to be as prepared as possible when the option for dual enrollment becomes available:

  • Study and take prerequisite courses as soon as you can. Some programs have a minimum GPA requirement and course prerequisites. Maintaining your GPA now and taking the proper courses can prepare you for any future requirements.
  • Research eligibility criteria. There are eligibility criteria for each program, such as grade level, teacher recommendations, and parent permission. Research ahead of time in order to ensure you can meet all the requirements.
  • Talk to your guidance counselor. Your high school guidance counselor can give you information about dual enrollment, help you choose courses and provide support when making decisions.
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