As a high school student, you may have the exciting opportunity to take dual enrollment classes and earn college credits while still in high school. Choosing the right classes can give you a head start on your college degree, strengthen your transcript, and allow you to explore potential careers.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: focus on general education requirements, introductory courses for your intended major, and classes that interest you or allow you to develop skills.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through the benefits of dual enrollment and the types of classes you should consider taking to make the most of the opportunity.

The Benefits of Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment programs offer high school students an incredible opportunity to get a head start on their college education. Here are some of the key benefits of taking dual enrollment classes:

Earn college credits in high school

One of the biggest advantages of dual enrollment is the ability to earn college credits while still in high school. By taking college-level courses, students can accelerate their academic progress and potentially graduate from college earlier.

This not only saves time but also reduces the overall cost of obtaining a degree.

Strengthen your college applications

Participating in dual enrollment demonstrates to colleges and universities that you are proactive, motivated, and capable of handling rigorous coursework. Admissions officers highly value students who challenge themselves academically and dual enrollment is an excellent way to showcase your abilities.

It can give you a competitive edge over other applicants and increase your chances of getting accepted into your dream school.

Explore interests and potential majors

Dual enrollment courses allow high school students to explore different subject areas and potential majors before committing to a specific field of study. This can be incredibly beneficial as it helps students make more informed decisions about their future career paths.

By trying out various subjects, students can discover their passions and interests, leading to a more fulfilling college experience.

Save money on college tuition

One of the primary advantages of dual enrollment is the potential cost savings it offers. By earning college credits in high school, students can significantly reduce the number of credits they need to complete in college.

This can translate into substantial savings on tuition fees, textbooks, and other college expenses. In fact, according to a study conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges, students who participated in dual enrollment saved an average of $8,000 in college expenses.

Get a head start on your college degree

By taking dual enrollment classes, students can get a head start on their college degree. This early exposure to college-level coursework can better prepare them for the academic challenges they will face in higher education.

Additionally, having already completed some college-level courses can provide students with a sense of confidence and familiarity when they officially start their college journey.

Types of Dual Enrollment Classes to Take

When it comes to choosing dual enrollment classes in high school, there are several options available that can benefit students in various ways. Here are some types of dual enrollment classes to consider:

General education requirements

One of the most common types of dual enrollment classes is those that fulfill general education requirements. These classes cover a range of subjects such as English, math, science, and social sciences.

Taking these classes in high school can help students fulfill college prerequisites and potentially save them time and money in the long run.

Introductory courses for your intended major

If you already have a clear idea of what you want to study in college, taking dual enrollment classes in introductory courses for your intended major can be highly beneficial. This allows you to get a head start on your college coursework and gain a deeper understanding of your chosen field.

It can also help you determine if your chosen major is the right fit for you.

High school graduation requirements

Dual enrollment classes can also be used to fulfill high school graduation requirements. By taking certain classes through a college or university, you may be able to meet the necessary credits needed for graduation while simultaneously earning college credit.

Advanced courses not offered at your high school

If your high school doesn’t offer advanced courses in certain subjects, dual enrollment classes can provide you with the opportunity to take more challenging courses. This can be particularly advantageous if you’re looking to further your knowledge and skills in a specific area of interest.

College success skills courses

In addition to subject-specific classes, many colleges offer courses that focus on college success skills. These classes can help high school students develop important skills such as time management, study techniques, and effective communication.

Taking these classes can better prepare you for the transition from high school to college.

Online classes

With the advancements in technology, many colleges and universities now offer online dual enrollment classes. These classes provide flexibility and convenience, allowing you to take college-level courses from the comfort of your own home.

Online classes can be a great option for students who have busy schedules or live in remote areas.

Classes related to your career interests

If you have a specific career interest, taking dual enrollment classes related to that field can give you valuable insight and hands-on experience. Whether it’s business, healthcare, engineering, or any other field, these classes can help you explore your passions and make more informed decisions about your future career.

Choosing the Right Dual Enrollment Courses

When it comes to choosing the best dual enrollment classes in high school, there are several factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you make the right decisions:

Discuss options with your high school counselor

Your high school counselor is a valuable resource when it comes to dual enrollment classes. They can provide guidance on which courses are available, the prerequisites for each course, and how they align with your academic goals.

Schedule a meeting with your counselor to discuss your options and get their recommendations.

Research requirements for colleges you plan to apply to

Each college may have different requirements when it comes to dual enrollment credits. Some colleges may accept all credits, while others may only accept credits from specific courses or institutions. Take the time to research the requirements of the colleges you plan to apply to, so you can choose dual enrollment classes that align with their preferences.

Make sure credits will transfer to your likely colleges

Transferring dual enrollment credits to college can save you time and money. However, it’s important to ensure that the credits you earn will transfer to the colleges you are likely to attend. Check with the colleges’ admissions or registrar’s office to confirm their transfer policies and ensure that the credits you earn will count towards your degree.

Consider your academic strengths and weaknesses

When choosing dual enrollment courses, it’s important to consider your academic strengths and weaknesses. If you excel in math and science, you might want to consider taking advanced courses in those subjects.

On the other hand, if you struggle with English or history, you might want to focus on improving your skills in those areas.

Balance difficulty with your high school course load

While it’s important to challenge yourself with dual enrollment courses, it’s also crucial to maintain a balance with your high school course load. Taking on too many difficult classes can lead to stress and burnout.

Consider your current workload and choose dual enrollment classes that will complement your high school courses without overwhelming you.

Pick subjects that interest you

One of the great advantages of dual enrollment is the opportunity to explore subjects that interest you. Whether it’s psychology, computer science, or creative writing, choose dual enrollment classes that align with your passions and career aspirations.

Not only will you enjoy the classes more, but you’ll also be more motivated to excel in them.

Remember, choosing the right dual enrollment courses can have a significant impact on your academic journey and future college plans. Take the time to research and consider your options to make the best decision for your educational goals.

Tips for Succeeding in Dual Enrollment Classes

Get organized and manage your time well

One of the keys to success in dual enrollment classes is effective time management. With the added responsibility of college-level coursework, it is important to stay organized and create a schedule that allows for both high school and college obligations.

Use a planner or digital calendar to keep track of assignments, due dates, and study sessions. By staying organized, you can ensure that you are dedicating enough time to each class and avoiding last-minute cramming sessions.

Stay on top of coursework and assignments

Dual enrollment classes move at a faster pace than regular high school classes, so it is crucial to stay on top of your coursework and assignments. Make a habit of reviewing your notes and completing readings and assignments in a timely manner.

Falling behind can be overwhelming and make it difficult to catch up. If you are struggling with a particular topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professor or classmates for help.

Leverage college resources like tutoring if needed

Colleges often offer tutoring services to their students, and dual enrollment students can take advantage of these resources as well. If you are struggling with a specific subject or need help understanding a concept, don’t hesitate to seek out tutoring.

Many colleges offer free or low-cost tutoring services, which can be a valuable asset in understanding and mastering challenging material.

Build relationships with your professors

Developing a good relationship with your professors can be beneficial in dual enrollment classes. Professors can provide guidance, answer questions, and offer support throughout the course. Take the time to introduce yourself, participate in class discussions, and visit their office hours if you have any concerns or need additional help.

Building a positive rapport with your professors can also lead to future opportunities, such as recommendation letters or networking connections.

Be proactive in seeking help when you need it

In dual enrollment classes, it’s important to be proactive when seeking help. Don’t wait until you are struggling or falling behind to reach out for assistance. If you are struggling with a particular assignment or concept, don’t hesitate to ask questions during class or seek clarification from your professor.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your classmates or utilize online resources. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help, and it can greatly contribute to your success in the class.

Maintain focus and discipline with the college environment

Transitioning to a college environment can be exciting but also challenging. It is essential to maintain focus and discipline in order to succeed in dual enrollment classes. Avoid distractions, such as social media or excessive extracurricular activities, during your designated study time.

Find a quiet and comfortable space to study and create a routine that allows for adequate rest and relaxation. By staying focused and disciplined, you can make the most of your dual enrollment experience and excel academically.


Dual enrollment classes allow motivated high school students to challenge themselves academically and get a head start on their college education. Choosing courses strategically can help you explore interests, strengthen your academic profile, save on tuition costs, and set yourself up for success in college.

Do your research, talk to your counselor, and select classes that align with your goals and required courses. With focus and determination, dual enrollment can be an invaluable experience that propels you forward on your educational journey.

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