Imagine starting college with credits already on your transcript. Or better yet, imagine graduating a semester early because those credits shaved time off your degree.
A dual credit program like IPFW Collegiate Connection™ gives you a head start on college and can even save you some money down the road, but you still need to explore and understand it before jumping in wholeheartedly.
Dual credit courses demand a lot from you. Are you ready for the challenge? This article will help you think through the possibilities so you can make the best decision for your needs.
Think about Your Goal
People take a dual credit classes for all kinds of reasons. Some want to get their “core” classes out of the way. Others hope to save money by finishing their degrees early. Some want a taste of college life so they know what's ahead.
Perhaps you plan to explore a couple of majors while still in high school? Some dual credit classes could also free up time in your class schedule so you can add a minor you find interesting.
What's your reason? What caught your eye about dual credit classes? Think about your goal and then seriously look at how dual credit fits your plans.
Consider Other Options
If you want to earn college credit while still in high school but aren't sure if dual credit classes are your best option, consider taking advanced placement (AP) classes.
The work is similar to a college-level class, but your main goal is typically to pass a test at the end of the semester.
Check How You Feel
Stop. Take a deep breath, then let it out. How do you feel about your world right now? If you're on track in school, getting your stuff done, and generally have your world together, then you're probably in good shape for handling the stress of a dual credit class. Likewise if your grades look solid and you wish something could challenge you at school.
On the other hand, if you're running low on duct tape as you frantically try to hold everything together, then step back and regroup. Focus on getting ahead of the world as you know it right now before adding something large and new.
Look at the Non-School Side of Life
What do your days look like outside of school? Can you talk to people about anything other than school (and maybe video games)?
Sure, colleges want to see applicants with good grades, but they also want students whose lives show well-rounded experience. Working part-time, volunteering for a non-profit, or getting involved in sports, clubs, or other organizations shows that you invested time in developing service and relational skills. That counts when it comes to an admissions decision.
Ultimately, whether or not you decide to enroll in a dual credit program is really up to you. You know your situation — and your goals — best. Think carefully about the advantages of getting a head start on college, but also about what you feel like you can handle.
If you still can't decide, reach out to your high school guidance counselor or talk to the IPFW Collegiate Connection™ team. They can help you sort things out and decide if dual credit makes good sense for you.
Looking for more ways to feel ready for college? Download our Ultimate College Decision Timeline.