Application deadlines for dual credit courses are just around the corner, and while some students may be completing the final steps, others may be asking themselves what exactly is ‘dual credit’, and what does it mean for me as a student?
“Dual credit is when a student has submitted an application to college and received acceptance into San Antonio College,” counselor Rebecca Hudkins said. “It’s taking a course that they’re receiving credit here [at Johnson] for, as well as earning college level credit that they can then use down the road to transfer to a university.”
However, the process to enroll in a dual credit course is lengthy and requires the applicant to meet all required deadlines in order to be considered for the program.
“[For] example, this year February 12 is the first major deadline,” Hudkins said. “So if a student hasn’t submitted an application by February 12, then they’re not eligible. And so, because of that, there’s very specific timelines that the kids that are interested in it need to really, you know be on top of that very quickly to move forward.”
Any student interested in taking a dual credit course(s) can fill out an application on Apply Texas. In addition, a testing component is also required in order to determine if a student is eligible to take certain courses.
“That’s the other piece; you have to do a test. Either the TSI, which is the Texas Success Initiative, which is required to get entrance into the college, or they can use an SAT or an ACT,” Hudkins said.
Dual credit is a process, and, although taking an AP class may be similar, there are definite differences.
“You’re at SAC and you’re taking the class at SAC; you have a grade for that class. Whereas with AP, you take the class. You take the test, and whatever grade you make on the test says, ‘OK, you don’t have to take that class next year,’” math teacher Brenda Perez said.
By completing one or more of these college-level courses, students may be able to exempt these classes their freshman year in college, which could allow more room in their schedule, and potentially save money.
“Some students choose to start at a community college, and so it helps get some of their basics out of the way, because they’ve already earned some credits there. It kind of reduces the money and time that they have to spend working on their associate’s degree before they transfer,” Hudkins said. “For other students it helps because it allows them to typically acquire a credit towards their degree plan that they’re not having to pay for, which allows for another course to be taken during the freshman year that might be of more interest to them.”
Dual credit may also be beneficial for students who have a general understanding of the basic courses they will need to take in college depending on their choice of major.
“Usually with math, like dual credit college algebra, is usually the only thing you need with a liberal arts degree,” Perez said.
Some students may be hesitant to apply for dual credit because they are unaware of the requirements involved, or maybe aren’t sure which courses to take. However, there are resources both online and in the counseling office that can be utilized for further information.
“I would say a majority of the kids do [meet the requirements]. There’s always a handful every year that can’t meet the testing component,” Hudkins said.
Others may not want to take dual credit because there’s a possibility that the credits aren’t accepted by schools outside of Texas, depending on the individual state and type of institution.
“Outside of the state, it just really depends on where you go to school,” Hudkins said. “An Ivy League school is probably not going to accept those credits, because they’re from a community college in a state that, you know, doesn’t necessarily really mean something to Harvard or something like that. But it depends. I have had kids transfer out of state to other places, and the colleges did accept it because it was a college transcript.”
Whatever your decision, dual credit can reap several benefits. Dual credit courses are more intensive and prepare students for the rigor of college, as well as provide the opportunity to put some skills to the test, according to Perez.
“They [students] have an opportunity, at least with the dual credit class, they have an opportunity to teach the class themselves. You know, teach a specific subject themselves- just to see how it works,” Perez said.