Dual Enrollment & Early College

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is Dual Enrollment?

    Dual Enrollment means a high school student is taking a community college class that will be used for both high school credit and college credit. Dual Enrollment is typically offered by two-year colleges. Jefferson County Schools typically offers dual enrollment with the following institutions:

    • Bevill State Community College
    • Jefferson State Community College
    • Lawson State Community College
    • Wallace State Community College

    Q: What is Early College? 

    Early College is a program offered by four-year colleges/universities where students take college classes for both high school and college credit. Jefferson County Schools typically offers early college opportunities with the following programs: 

    • UAB Start
    • UA Early College
    • JSU Core Scholars
    • University of Montevallo College Ahead
    • Judson College Dual Enrollment by Distance

    Q: Am I eligible for Dual Enrollment/Early College?

    Each institution has rules and regulations about admission. Generally, to be eligible to enroll in dual enrollment/early college, you must:

    • Meet the placement testing requirements (SAT, ACT, or COMPASS)
    • Have a 3.0 GPA in completed high school courses to take academic courses
    • Have a 2.5 GPA in completed high school courses to take technical courses
    • Have approval from the counselor, principal, and local superintendent of education (or his designee)
    • Must be in grade 11th or 12th at time of taking dual enrollment course. Students in 10th grade may be considered on an individual basis.

    Q: What courses can I take as Dual Enrollment/Early College?

    A variety of courses in career technical and academic programs are available through dual enrollment/early college agreements between the high schools and colleges. There are two main kinds of dual enrollment/early college courses:

    • Academic Courses - these are courses in core academic content (math, science, social studies, and English) and some electives (fine arts, foreign language, etc.).
    • Career Technical Education (CTE) Courses - these are courses in programs that are offered via Associate's Degree programs or that provide a career credential (i.e., NCCER certification) upon successful completion. These are not typically offered through early college programs.

    Consult your high school counselor for more details on the different types of classes you can take in these programs.

    Q: Does the Dual Enrollment/Early College grade count on my high school and college transcript?

    Yes, the grades are listed on your high school transcript and counts toward high school graduation requirements. The grades are also listed on your ESCC/AAC transcript when you graduate from high school or earn a GED. The grades are ALSO permanent college grades and part of your permanent transcript for college.

    Q: When can I take the class?

    You can work the class into your high school schedule, with approval from the high school. Students may take courses during the day, evening, online, during the school year, or in the summer.

    Q: Will my classes transfer?

    It depends on the classes that you take. Academic courses usually transfer to most four-year colleges or universities in the US, but career technical courses are not usually designed for transfer. To ensure classes transfer, register with STARS (State-wide Transfer Articulation System). STARS provides information on courses that transfer to Alabama's public four-year institutions. For more information on STARS and transfer credit in Alabama, consult the STARS website, www.stars.troy.edu. If you plan on attending a college or university outside Alabama, you should contact the institution for specific transfer information.

    Q: What if I want to start in a technical career track?

    While in high school, students can get a jump start in a technical career program through dual enrollment. These courses can lead to an Associate in Applied Science degree or certificate and can help with early opportunities for employment in today's technically demanding workforce. 

    Q: How much does Dual Enrollment/Early College cost?

    As with any college class, there are tuition and fees to be paid. The costs vary depending on the program. Tuition costs can range from $100 to $600 a course, and additional fees for books, parking, and supplies may apply. Some courses, like those in critical needs career tech (CTE) areas may qualify for scholarships from the Alabama State Department of Education, and some institutions may offer other scholarships for academically eligible students. Students should let their high school counselor know if they will need financial assistance to participate in dual enrollment or early college. The counselor may know which programs offer scholarships and what the qualifications are for those scholarships, or the counselor can direct the student to the postsecondary institution for more help with paying for these programs. 

    Q: Is Dual Enrollment/Early College right for me?

    The answer to this depends on many factors. Here are some things to consider:

    • Why do you want to do dual enrollment/early college? 
    • If you want to get a jump start on going to a 4-year college or if you want to get your associate's degree faster, then dual enrollment/early college is a good choice. 
    • If you want to get out of going to school all day, you might not be motivated enough to do well in a college class.
    • Are you good at doing school work on your own?
      • If you don't need reminding to get your homework done, then you might do well in dual enrollment/early college. College instructors rarely remind students to do their work or when deadlines are coming. If you need someone reminding you to do your work or you need help keeping track of when assignments are due, you may not be successful in dual enrollment/early college.
    • Are you good at asking your teachers for help?
      • If you are not afraid to speak up and ask questions, you might be a good candidate for dual enrollment/early college.
      • If you are afraid to ask teachers for help when you need it, you may not find dual enrollment/early college a good fit. College instructors want to help students, but they rely on students to ask for help.

    These are just a few of the questions you might want to ask yourself before signing up for dual enrollment/early college. Consult with your high school counselor as you make your decision. One important fact to remember: Students should understand that they are registering for college courses for college credit. The grades in these courses will become a part of the student's permanent college record. It is important that students do well in their first college courses so they begin their college career with success.

    Q: Where do I start?

    Talk to your high school counselor and parent(s) about the program. Students will need to fill out or provide some or all of the following to participate:

    • The Jefferson County Schools' Dual Enrollment Application
    • Application for admission to the postsecondary institution of choice
    • A current photo ID
    • ACT scores (or arrange to take ACCUPLACER test if the ACT hasn't been taken yet)

    Q: Have more questions?

    If you'd like more information on these programs, please contact your school counselor or Dr. Amy Fineburg, Advanced Programs Specialist for Jefferson County Schools.