Students can earn college credits while attending high school

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dual credit is a good example of expanded opportunities for students attending community colleges. By participating in the Dual Credit program, students can make substantial progress toward a college degree before finishing high school. In fact, students who begin taking courses in their junior year can earn 30 or more college credits by the time they graduate from high school if they also take summer classes at the college.

Dual Credit Defined

Dual credit is an option available for students in their junior and senior years, which allows them to take college-level courses concurrently with their high school attendance. These classes may be taught either at the high school or at the college in a specially scheduled college course that is open to the public. Through dual enrollment, students may receive both high school and college credit.

High school graduates who earn dual enrollment credits upon graduation may continue their studies at Paul D. Camp Community College using one of two degree programs, outlined below.

Associate in Arts and Science (AA&S) Degree

A part of the college and university transfer program, this degree program is designed for students who plan to complete a baccalaureate degree program at a four-year college or university. AA&S degree options include business administration, education and general studies, (with specializations in computer science or general), and science.

Associate in Applied Science Degree

These two-year occupational/technical degree programs lead directly to employment:

Administration of Justice (with specializations in corrections and police science),

Administrative support technology (with specializations in executive secretary and word/information processing), early childhood development, industrial technology (with specializations in general, electronic-electrical and electronic controls), management (with specializations in computer support specialist, general management, hardware and software support, and marketing management) and nursing.

Best Deal in Town

According to many who know from experience, dual credit is the “best deal” in town for students and their parents. Students can get college credit for some of the courses they are taking at their high school and these courses can transfer to other educational institutions. Another plus is that the cost at a community college is one-third to one-half that of many four-year institutions. A student could graduate from PDCCC with a two-year degree at the same time they graduate from high school.

Local Example

When he entered Virginia Tech, Matt Soucek transferred 25 college credit hours in calculus, biology, U.S. history, and English composition courses he took at PDCCC while attending Franklin High School (equivalent to two full-time semesters). As a result, he graduated in three versus four years with a degree in Psychology in tandem with acceptance to graduate school.

Matt’s father said he was really pleased with the thousands of dollars the dual enrollment credits had saved him: a year of tuition, two semesters of books and supplies and a year of rent and food.

Matt’s mother, a high school English teacher, said, “A student who has college credit when graduating from high school is more likely to further his education.”

A monograph written by Hans A. Andrews called “The Dual-Credit Phenomenon! Challenging Secondary School Students across 50 States,” notes that many high school students consider their senior year a waste of time and that one remedy to this problem is dual enrollment.


To be eligible to participate, high school juniors and seniors must be 16 years old by the end of the semester enrolled, approved by the high school principal for course registration, accepted for admission by the college and qualified (amply prepared for the demands of a college-level course by successfully completing the college placement test).

For more information on dual enrollment and other options available at PDCCC (including the 2009 spring semester schedule), call 569-6700, or visit our Web site at