Dual Enrollment: A Beginner’s Guide

Pictured is the campus of Hillsborough Community College. The Dual Enrollment Program is very popular with High School students.

Tampa Bay Times


Hailey Le Roy, Entertainment Editor

There is something ironic about middle-schoolers striving to take high school classes and high-schoolers striving to take college classes; students always try to prepare for the future one way or another. Getting college credit is a great way to do one’s future-self a favor but, done incorrectly, can leave oneself in utter disarray. Advanced Placement (AP) classes can be great, but many students overlook the perfectly viable option of dual enrollment.

Dual enrollment means being registered in two academic institutions. In this case, being enrolled in high school and college at the same time. One will be considered a college student, and professors are not aware of a student’s dual enrollment status unless told otherwise.

Taking classes directly through a college may seem scary at first; after all, it is a common theme for teachers to tell students college will be much harder, with astronomical expectations. Considering this, dual enrollment classes are nevertheless attainable and are, most of the time, on a similar level to AP classes. Students can get the same amount of college credit an AP class provides for just a semester’s amount of schooling.

To take a dual enrollment class, students must have a 3.0 high-school GPA, and, once enrolled, keep a 2.0 college-GPA to continue eligibility for classes. One must also pass the Postsecondary Educational Readiness Test (PERT) or have a concordant SAT or ACT score before registration.

Two important forms must be filled out before registering at HCC: the Authorization Form B and the parent permission form, both of which can be received from a guidance counselor. The first form is to specify what classes one wants to take. Browsing through HCC’s classes online, finding a few that count towards a high-school diploma then checking their availability through the Course Sections page is the best way to fill out the Form B. Classes are offered during all seasons, so there is a lot of flexibility; one can take 10-week-long classes, five-week-long classes and even two-week intersession classes. For a simpler schedule, students can just take 18-week classes that coincide with their Newsome semester schedule.

Students usually enroll and take classes through Hillsborough Community College (HCC). The college has five different campuses; it is possible to take an online course through any of them, which allows for a greater possibility of finding a class one wants or needs to take.

There is also the option of taking classes through the University of South Florida, but it is only available if HCC does not offer the desired course. Usually, this happens when someone wants to take a higher-level class or one that goes with their aspiring major.

Overall, dual enrollment is a unique way to get college credit. Students can learn valuable skills like time management and how to act in a college setting.