In Massachusetts, dual enrollment is a term used to describe a high school student registered in a community college course.
When dual enrollment students successfully complete community college classes those class credits can be used to satisfy both high school and college requirements.
All community colleges in Massachusetts offer some form of dual enrollment.
Typically dual enrollment students take in-person classes on campus or online courses offered by the college. Some colleges also run courses for dual enrollment students at local, partner high schools.
Why Dual Enroll?
Frequently, homeschoolers take community college classes as a way to fulfill their required high school coursework necessary for admittance into most 4-year college programs. It is common for homeschoolers to take English, writing, and higher-level math courses as well as lab sciences, foreign languages, and computer programming.
Dual enrolled students are not registered in any particular degree program at the community college. However, homeschoolers can strategically take courses chosen to meet requirements for a future two-year degree or certificate program. Additionally, homeschoolers can use dual enrollment credit to transfer to a four-year college after completing a homeschool high school program.
How to get started.
STEP 1: Determine which community college you are interested in applying to.
STEP 2: Determine which classes you would like to attend.
STEP 3: Submit an application for dual enrollment.
How to pick classes.
Typically, dual enrollment students can take classes that do not have prerequisites. Certain classes ay require placement testing, completing prerequisites, or getting permission from an instructor. There are exceptions such as courses limited to students who have declared a specific major or entered a program for which those courses are exclusively offered, such as EMT or airplane mechanic courses for those majors. (Dual enrollment students cannot declare a major.) Dual enrollment students may be required to meet with an advisor prior to enrolling as well as during each semester or term.
Once you pin down the schools that you want to attend you will need to register for dual enrollment. During the application process you may be asked to complete placement testing u may be asked to first register as a dual enrollment student or to complete placement testing.
How to register for dual enrollment?
Each college has its own dual enrollment policy and dual enrollment coordinator. In most cases you can find information on dual enrolment on the college website.
On campus, the dual enrollment office is usually located in the admissions office. We recommend making an appointment to meet with a dual enrollment coordinator in order to get the specifics about the school’s DE offerings & admission requirements.
We also recommend that reach out on the MHLA chat or Facebook page to connect with other homeschooling families who have dual enrolled students at that particular community college.
Which classes can you take?
Typically, dual enrollment students can take any classes that have no prerequisites or that they have qualified for through placement testing, completing prerequisites, or getting permission from an instructor. The exceptions are courses limited to students who have declared a specific major or entered a program for which those courses are exclusively offered, such as EMT or airplane mechanic courses for those majors. (Dual enrollment students cannot declare a major.) Dual enrollment students may be required to meet with an advisor each semester or term.
Are there tuition breaks?
Tuition breaks for dual enrollment students vary by school. Some offer one free course per term or school year. Others may offer free or reduced tuition if the student takes online, evening or weekend courses. Some may even have a dual enrollment-specific grants that students can apply for. Unfortunately, some community colleges give no breaks to dual enrolled homeschoolers.
What about placement testing?
Typically, community colleges use Accuplacer assessment tests to place dual enrollment students into math, English, and writing classes. Accuplacer tests are computer-based. Free sample tests and math study guides are available online.
Students need to contact the college testing center to schedule their placement testing. Placement testing is typically free. Students with IEPs or proof of disability documents can apply for testing accomidations. Please note, there may be a limit on how often students can retake the tests.
The accuplacer math test is an adaptive that typically starts with basic algebra material. The test then gradually moves on to more difficult or basic material based on student answers during the test.
Are there reporting district requirements?
Some community colleges require a homeschool plan approval letter. Some colleges may also require specific permission from the district to participate in dual enrollment.
What about privacy and student expectations?
College students, including dual enrollment students are entitled to privacy with respect to their records and grades.
Dual enrollment students are expected to manage their own class registrations, online accounts, and course withdraws.
Homeschooling parents are not allowed to act for their student with respect to the college.