Seamlessly Transitioning from Homeschool to College: A Guide to Dual Credit Programs

By: Beverly Matoney | The Homeschoool Copywriter

As a homeschool student working your way through high school classes, you may be a little nervous about heading to college in a few years. Campus life is a whole new environment for someone who has spent years in a home learning situation and the thought of that next big step can feel a bit overwhelming.

But what if you had the opportunity to take actual classes at college while you’re still in high school? As a homeschool student, you may have access to dual credit programs which are an excellent way to ease into the college experience and earn credits toward your degree at the same time. Want to know more?

What are dual credit programs?

Dual credit programs allow you to take college-level courses alongside your high school lessons, and these courses count for both high school and college credit simultaneously. So, while you’re enjoying high school at home, you can be gathering credits toward your associate degree in college.

Here are some steps to follow to take advantage of these enriching programs.

Research Available Dual Credit Programs

Check out colleges and universities in your area. You’ll find that some institutions welcome homeschool students while others may have special admissions requirements or restrictions. Look for programs that align with your academic interests and goals.

Meet Admissions Requirements

Each dual credit program will have its own admissions requirements. These may include a minimum age or grade level, standardized test scores, prerequisite coursework, or a request for recommendation letters. Make sure you understand and fulfill all the requirements before applying.

You’re in! Now what?

Choose Suitable Courses

Once accepted into a dual credit program, you’ll need to select the courses you want to take. Review the course catalog or program offerings to find classes that support your academic interests in addition to fulfilling any college prerequisites for the degree you seek. It’s important to choose courses that challenge you academically and demonstrate your readiness for college level work.

Coordinate With Your Homeschool Curriculum

Work closely with your homeschool program in your state to verify that the dual credit courses you take complete your high school graduation requirements. Determine how the college credits you earn will be integrated into your high school transcript.

Attend Classes and Complete Assignments

As a dual-credit student, you’ll typically attend college classes either on campus or online alongside traditional college students. Be prepared to adapt to the college environment, including attending lectures, participating in discussions, and completing assignments and exams to meet college or university requirements.

Maintain Good Academic Standing

It’s important to maintain good academic standing throughout the dual credit program. Colleges often have minimum grade requirements to continue earning credits and to be certain those credits will transfer to other institutions. Be sure you understand the grading policies and coursework expectations of your chosen dual credit program.

Why is maintaining a good academic standing in a dual credit program so important?

Since you’re a high school student in a higher education setting, your work may be under closer scrutiny than students who have already graduated high school. To maximize the benefits of the dual credit program and so your credits transfer seamlessly, follow these strategies to help you maintain a good academic standing.

  1. Take the Program Seriously. Treat your dual credit courses as you would any college-level course. Recognize that the workload and expectations may be higher than what you are accustomed to with your homeschool lessons. Approach your studies with dedication, discipline, and a strong work ethic. Submit high-quality work on time and strive for excellence.
  2. Attend Classes Regularly. You may have a flexible homeschool schedule, but taking college courses adds certain responsibilities to your day. Consistent attendance is essential for understanding the material, participating in discussions, and staying up to date with assignments and tests. Give your dual credit courses top priority.
  3. Actively Participate. Engage in class discussions, ask questions, and contribute to group activities. As a homeschool student, you may spend the bulk of your time working solo, but active participation in dual credit classes not only enhances your learning experience but also develops your social skills, demonstrates your commitment to the course and can positively impact your grades.
  4. Manage Your Time Effectively. Develop good time management skills to balance your dual credit coursework with other homeschool commitments. Create a study schedule, set deadlines for assignments, and allocate sufficient time for reading, studying, and completing assignments while keeping up with your other lessons at home.
  5. Seek Help When Needed. If you’re struggling with the course material or have questions, don’t hesitate to seek help. Reach out to your instructor during office hours, participate in study groups, or utilize online resources and tutoring services provided by the college or program.
  6. Stay Organized. Keep track of assignments, due dates, and course materials. Use a planner or digital tools to stay organized and ensure you complete tasks on time. Review course information and make note of important dates and expectations.
  7. Manage Stress. College level courses can be challenging, and it’s important to manage stress effectively. Find healthy strategies such as exercise, mindfulness, or hobbies to reduce stress levels and maintain a balanced approach to your studies. And remember to enjoy the journey, both in your homeschool environment and your new college-level experiences.

Earn College Credits

Successfully completing your dual credit courses in high school will earn you college credits that are generally transferable to other colleges and universities. These credits can save you time and money while pursuing your college degree, as they can count toward your degree requirements.

Transfer Your Credits

Work in tandem with your chosen colleges or universities to understand how the dual credit courses will transfer toward your intended degree. Different institutions have different transfer policies, so it’s essential to communicate with admissions offices to ensure a smooth transition.

Dual credit opportunities can provide you with a head start on your college education, allowing you to experience college-level coursework and potentially reduce the time and expense of earning a degree later on. Taking courses simultaneously at a college while you homeschool can also help ease the transition to full-time college student after graduation.

Be proactive in researching and planning your dual enrollment and take advantage of the resources available to you as a homeschool student. Make the most of these opportunities as you set a positive foundation for your future college education.

We wish you the best of luck in your dual enrollment adventure!

About the Author: Beverly Matoney

Beverly Matoney is a wife, mother to two wonderful adult children, and writer living in northeast Georgia. She began her career in sales and marketing, but eventually opted for the stay-at-home life. When her oldest child was three, she and her husband decided homeschool was the best path for their family. That was way back in the early 90s when homeschool was just beginning to gain steam as an education alternative. But what an adventure it was!

Fast forward 20+ years, and their children have grown, graduated from homeschool, gone to college, and started their own lives. What’s a former home educator to do? She follows another dream she had of being a writer.

Did you know OAO now offers Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit programs?