The second part of our two part series looking at common misconceptions about dual enrollment for homeschoolers.
Myth: Dual enrollment courses are not challenging. Dual enrollment courses are just at low level community colleges and most of the courses are easier than APs or high school courses.
Reality: College courses taken during high school vary widely; it depends on your local school and your student’s needs. Homeschooled students complete courses during high school at a wide variety of types of schools including community colleges, four year universities, and private colleges. Even among community colleges there can be a very wide range of quality including some community colleges that offer honors programs and more upper level course options.
Some state funded dual enrollment programs pay only for very specific course offerings, but others are flexible to allow students to choose any course of interest. Many students choose to take courses that are clearly college level and beyond the normal high school scope and sequence. For example, some homeschoolers who are advanced math students may choose to take courses such as number theory or linear algebra. Completing these sorts of courses is a great way for a student to demonstrate ability and interest beyond the high school level.
Myth: Dual enrollment will destroy your kid’s innocence or ruin their morals.
Reality: Parents need to make individual decisions based on knowing their own kids and what is appropriate for their family. There are many different colleges offering different courses and there is no one universal experience. Of course, parents should know most college students are adults. It is presumed that students attending dual enrollment courses will be comfortable encountering new people and different ideas and that they are capable of self-supervision while on campus.
The majority of homeschooling parents I’ve heard from are pleased with the experience their students had during dual enrollment courses. Most parents are gratified to see their kids maturely and responsibly handling new situations. Careful planning of course selection may be helpful. For example, families who know they will not be comfortable with more mature topics may choose to delay enrollment in courses such as psychology and opt to begin with subjects such as math.
Myth: Dual enrollment classes are provided for free for all high school students.
Reality: Dual enrollment costs vary widely. Some states provide entirely free access, including textbooks, to high schools students. Other may provide access to a limited number of credits or may provide a reduced cost for high school students. In other situations, homeschoolers may find themselves responsible for 100% of the tuition costs without access to financial aid or scholarships.
Dual enrollment options vary widely from one state to another. Don’t rely on rumors. Carefully research the options available to your student. Make a thoughtful decision in the context of your student’s academic abilities and long term goals.