Five things to help you succeed in college classes.
Dual enrollment is a way to try college classes while you’re still in high school. The credits you earn can count toward high school graduation as well as a college degree. You could graduate high school with an associate degree or even work toward a bachelor’s by earning college credits that can transfer nearly anywhere, all for free.
As a Southwest Secondary Learning Center student, you can take advantage of dual enrollment as early as your sophomore year. But before you take the plunge, here are five tips for getting the most out of the program.
1 – Enroll When You Feel Ready
Dual enrollment is available to students as early as 10th grade, but there’s no pressure to try it right away. You have plenty of time to decide what you want to do. If you’d rather just focus on your high school studies, that’s okay. If you’re eager to give college a try as soon as possible, that’s okay too.
Your sponsor teacher at SSLC can help you decide whether you’re ready. They’re available to answer your questions and give an assessment of your academic strengths and areas of opportunity. And once you take the Accuplacer exam, which is part of the dual enrollment application process, you’ll have an even clearer idea of where you’re excellent and where you might need some extra help.
If you’re not feeling ready this semester, don’t worry. Your teacher can help you so you can tackle the next semester with confidence.
2 – Choose the Right Classes
One of the best things about dual enrollment is that you can get a taste of college without committing to a degree program or declaring a major. The credits are real, and your grades will go on your transcript, but there’s less pressure than if you were going to college full-time.
However, this freedom comes with many decisions. Do you get a prerequisite class out of the way? Take a specialized course in something that interests you? How do you know if it will be too challenging? What if you don’t like it?
Your sponsor teacher can help you navigate these choices. Because SSLC is such a small school, teachers can take the time to really get to know every student and help pick out classes that will help you meet your goals and set you up for success.
3 – Take Advantage of Academic Support
Another great thing about dual enrollment is that it allows you to receive extra support. CNM and UNM both have lots of on-campus resources, like tutoring and writing centers. But SSLC students can also get help from their high school teachers. If you need someone to explain a concept to you in a different way, read over an essay, or help you manage your workload, your teachers can help.
Some SSLC students take only one college class per semester. Others might spend most of their time on campus taking a full course load. No matter how many college classes you’re enrolled in, you’re always welcome to take advantage of SSLC resources as long as you’re a student here.
4 – Learn Time Management Skills
College-level work is more academically rigorous than what you might be accustomed to. Some students find it harder to keep up with their schoolwork once they start taking college classes. Fortunately, the academic support offered by dual enrollment can help you make the transition and minimize some of the stress that comes from learning to juggle harder classes.
If organization and time management is something you struggle with, your SSLC teacher can help. There is even an elective available in the Edgenuity catalog that focuses on building study skills. Your teacher can also help you address other specific concerns you might have with getting your work completed and turned in on time.
5 – Learn to Self-Advocate and Communicate
One of the most important things to know about being a dual enrollment student is that your teacher can always help you, but only if they know you’re struggling. There are no parent-teacher conferences with college professors, and no one will tell us if you’re having a tough time. To get the most out of dual enrollment programs, you’ll need to learn how to communicate with your teachers and professors, identify problems as they come up, and ask for the help you need.
Speaking up and asking for help is one of the most important skills you can master, not just for your education but throughout the rest of your life. Having a teacher in your corner who can help you makes it easier to build those skills of self-advocacy.
Dual enrollment can be a great opportunity for students who are ready. Whether you’re aiming to complete a degree before you graduate high school or just want to give college-level academics a try, SSLC can help you meet your goals. If you’re not one of our students yet, you can schedule a tour to see if our school is right for you. Call (505) 296-7677 to get started.