Why Consider a Dual Enrollment Program

5 Advantages of Dual Enrollment Programs

If you had the opportunity to get a head start on your career, would you take it? Dual enrollment programs are designed to do just that. Through a dual enrollment program, a high school junior or senior has the option of taking postsecondary-level courses while working towards their high school diploma.

One of the main goals of dual enrollment programs is to increase access to post-secondary education, particularly for students who are often under-represented in higher education programs[1]. While initially dual enrollment programs were designed for high school students seeking to get a jumpstart on a four-year degree, in recent years career-focused programs have become more common[2].

Although signing up for a dual enrollment program can mean more disciplined work for a student, there are many advantages of doing so. If you want to jump into a post-secondary career and technical education training program while you’re working towards your high school diploma, here are a few reasons why participating in a dual enrollment program is worth it.

1. Earn College Credit While in High School

Although there are several programs that give high school students the opportunity to earn college credit before they earn a high school diploma, dual enrollment programs give students the chance to participate in actual postsecondary-level courses[3].

Typically, students in a dual enrollment program travel from their high school to the participating college for their classes. In many cases, a dual enrolled student will spend half of the academic day at their high school, then be bussed over to the college for the remainder of the day. Some dual enrollment programs can be taken full time at the home high school in Orange County.

The chance to earn college credits early helps to reduce the time it takes a student in a dual enrollment program to earn either a career certificate or a two-year or four-year degree.

2. Helps to Give Your GPA a Boost

Participating in a dual enrollment program might help to give your high school grade point average a boost. A couple of studies[3] noted a statistically significant difference in the grades and standardized test scores of high school students who were enrolled in college level courses and students who were not enrolled in college level courses.

3. Reduces the Cost of Post-Secondary Education

A post-secondary education is expensive, with costs ranging from an average of $3,570 per year at public two-year institutions to $35,767 per year at private four-year institutions[4]. Meanwhile, many dual enrollment programs give you the chance to attend college-level courses and earn college credit for free.

Dual enrollment programs typically do not have tuition charges, but you might have to pay for lab fees, a uniform, and some materials and equipment.

4. Makes You More Likely to Graduate

Signing up for a dual enrollment program can help to motivate you to pursue a career. That motivation can also help you as you work towards earning your high school diploma. Multiple studies have pointed to a statistically significant difference between the high school graduation rates of students who are participating in a dual enrollment program compared to students who aren’t in a program.

5. Gives You a Jumpstart on Your Career

What do you want to do with your life? Signing up for a dual enrollment program can help you figure out the answer to that question. As a dual enrollment student, you’ll have the opportunity to take courses and learn more about a particular industry, giving you the chance to see if a field interests you and giving you the chance to get hands-on training and experience in that field.

Since a dual enrollment program shortens the time it takes to earn a career certificate, not only will you have a chance to figure out what you want to do sooner, you’ll have the opportunity to get out in the field and start your career before many of your peers.

How to Participate in a Dual Enrollment Program

Dual enrollment programs at Orange Technical College are available to high school juniors and seniors enrolled in Orange County Public Schools. To participate in the dual enrollment program, you should have a 2.0 unweighted GPA and be on track for graduation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industries and careers available through Orange Technical College’s dual enrollment program, get in touch with your high school guidance counselor, career specialist or the dual enrollment coordinator at the OTC campus nearest you.


  1. “Dual Enrollment Programs,” Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse, https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/EvidenceSnapshot/671
  2. “Dual Enrollment Not Just for High Achievers: Early College Improves Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students, Study Finds,” Community College Research Center, July 18, 2012
  3. “WWC Intervention Report,” Institute of Education Sciences, February 2017, https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/docs/interventionreports/wwcdualenrollment022817.pdf
  4. “What You Need to Know About College Tuition Costs,” US News and World Report, Sept. 19, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-college-tuition-costs