First day of dual enrollment at Trinity
By Gabriela Clarke
My first day as a college student was not actually my first day as a college student. When I moved into my Trinity dorm and began my on-campus education, I was already familiar with how to navigate the basic structure of higher education and had completed a little over a year of college classes. Why? Because I was dual-enrolled at Trinity while I was in high school.
WHAT IS IT?
Dual enrollment is a rather elusive term, and most people aren’t very familiar with it. When they hear that phrase, they might wonder what it is, who does it, and what purpose it serves. Dual enrollment is a nifty tool that allows high school students to earn both high school and college credit at the same time by completing higher education courses.
The most important question, though, and the one which should be asked by students, is why. Why do dual enrollment? Why do it at Trinity?
“My dual enrollment experience was extremely valuable to me . . . becoming familiar with the culture, lingo, and academic demands of college before being fully committed to it strongly supported my academic success.”
WHY DO IT?
Dual enrollment was an opportunity for me to test the waters of higher education. I enjoy challenging myself academically, and dual enrollment was a perfect means by which to achieve that. It saved me time because I was making progress in two areas at once: high school and college. It saved me money, too, because dual enrolled students have a significantly lower tuition fee at Trinity.
My dual enrollment experience was extremely valuable to me. Perhaps most obviously, I got a head start on college credit. But just as valuable was the exposure itself. Being in the college setting before being a full-on student there gave me a sneak peek into the college world. I learned what kinds of questions to ask my professors, how to use campus resources, and how much time I needed to set aside for each class in order to succeed.
The best part was that I was eased into the collegiate world. Becoming familiar with the culture, lingo, and academic demands of college before being fully committed to it strongly supported my academic success. During my first semester of dual enrollment, for example, I took one class. This enabled me to focus much more energy on one particular course than I would have been able to with a full workload, and the culture shock that usually accompanies the switch to college was also avoided as I moved into it gradually.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW?
Prospective dual enrollment students should know that this path is not a shortcut. Although phrases like “head start” and “getting ahead” are often used, this does not mean that dual-enrolled students take easier classes or are given any type of unfair advantage over their classmates. Dual enrollment is simply a way to get started early. No matter what the context, college courses are more challenging and time-consuming than high school ones.
When I began my studies at Trinity as a high school, I was commuting to campus multiple times a week for my classes and the rest of my days were spent studying. Moving up to higher education while still in high school takes, above all, a strong desire to accomplish anything that is put in front of you. It takes time, dedication, prayer, and perseverance. The good news is that all of these components have an immense payoff!
My dual enrollment experience was an invaluable blessing because it introduced me to the world of higher education, and this has been the case for many other dual-enrolled students at Trinity as well. The only question that has yet to be answered here is this: will you be the next one?