Dual credit program saves students time, money toward bachelor's degree

Dual credit program saves students time, money toward bachelor's degree
Posted on 04/15/2017

When Mollie Collins graduated from Scottsburg High School in 2014, she graduated with 21 college credits and started her first year at Liberty University as a sophomore. Not only did she save one year of classes from her schedule, Collins saved $15,000 toward her college education — all by taking dual credit classes offered at SHS.

“The dual credit program at SHS not only saved me valuable time and money but also gave me the time I needed to find the right major, as well as double-minor in things I am passionate about,” said Collins, who is majoring in strategic communications with a minor in graphic design and global studies. She plans to use her degree to become a brand manager or social media director for a brand she supports.

At SHS, students have an opportunity to earn up to 100 credit hours from the course offerings in the dual credit and Advanced Placement courses. In the dual credit program at SHS, students can choose which dual credit classes they want to take and take classes that meet their needs when they go to college to earn their bachelor’s degree.

“We allow the students to choose what classes they take and that fits into their career pathway,” said Shannon Mount, K-12 College and Career Counselor at Scott County School District 2. “It opens up more classes you want to take and allows students to get more prerequisites out of the way.”

Instead of focusing on a specific program, students can take dual credit classes that are the introductory or prerequisite classes they will need for their major at a four-year college and university. This allows SHS graduates to take classes in their major sooner, discover what major they want to pursue in college, and even register earlier than other incoming college freshmen, who are vying for popular classes and time slots.

“Although I entered into college with 21 credits, I did not move into my major classes any faster mostly because I had not yet chosen a major. However, being ahead of the game allowed the time I needed to ‘test-drive’ several classes that eventually lead me to find and declare a major I am passionate about. Having more credits coming into Liberty also allowed me earlier registration because of the class I was in,” Collins said.

Along with the academic advantages, the dual credit program at SHS allows students to save money toward their college education. The introductory classes offered are free or low cost, and by state law, the credits earned through the SHS program have to transfer to public universities in Indiana. Many of the credits can also transfer to private colleges and universities, depending on the institution’s policies.

“It saves them tons of money at college,” Mount said.

To help students figure out what classes will transfer outside of Indiana or to private colleges and universities, Mount and the guidance department meets with seniors to review their credits and the college they plan to attend. They also help students speak up for themselves when speaking to admissions officers, so they can make sure their dual credit classes are reviewed for transferring.

“They still have to advocate for themselves,” Mount said. “We show them how to do this.”

Not only do students save time and money when going onto their four-year degrees in college, they also have an opportunity to take their first college classes with teachers they know and trust, helping with the transition. Students in the dual credit program learn valuable skills for college and are better prepared when they graduate high school.

“SHS dual credit prepared me for my time at Liberty by not only putting me ahead in credits, but also by providing translatable skills in the classroom such as how to write an excellent paper (thanks, Mrs. Wells), how to stay organized, to study hard, and not make excuses,” Collins said. “This equipped me to step into college knowing that I alone was responsible for my grades, and made for a much easier transition.”

Through the SHS dual credit program, students also have an opportunity to take classes with other like-minded students, who are planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree after high school graduation.

“The best thing about the dual credit program at SHS is learning alongside students who love a challenge as much as you do. The community I found at SHS among dual-credit students both taught me and motivated me to be excellent in everything I do,” Collins said.

At Scott County School District 2, Collins’ story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.