Tips for the Homeschooled Teenager: Dual Enrollment

Being homeschooled in high school can be difficult, it’s the time to figure out what you want to do and how to get there. But, being homeschooled also allows for amazing opportunities to get where you want to go even faster. For me, I knew I wanted to be a dental hygienist, and I knew I would need to go to college to achieve that goal. I decided my junior year to go ahead and start dual enrollment to complete my prerequisites and haven’t looked back since. Now, 9 dual credit classes later, I’m starting the fall semester of my senior year and I’m on track to graduate in December. When I first started a year ago, I never thought I’d be able to complete every prerequisite and corequisite in time, but I’ve done it (while keeping a 4.0 GPA 😉 ), and now I’m ready to share what I’ve learned.

Tip #1: Don’t worry about what the people around you are doing

One of the biggest problems I first ran into was trying to compare myself to what everyone else was doing.  Either by trying to keep up, or thinking I was doing too much. Don’t do this!!! You can’t succeed trying to use the same studying or note taking techniques as the people around you, you have to know how YOU learn best and how YOU retain information. Some people learn by making flashcards, some people learn by watching videos. Some people prefer typing their notes, some write them by hand, and some people just record the whole lecture! You really have to just sit down and think about how you learn and how you can get the most out of your lectures, and not just try to follow everyone else.

Tip #2: You might be the youngest in the class, and that is okay

This one took me a long time to grasp, but being the youngest in your dual credit classes is totally okay. As a person who did most of their dual credit classes at 16, I was always the youngest person in class by far. For a while I felt like I would never be able to make friends, or that no one would want to talk to someone who is so much younger than them. Then, I realized that no one seemed to care at all, and that I could relate to the other students in my class because they were also dedicated to achieving their goals. They want the same thing I do: to work hard and make getting through the class as painless as possible. Making friends is as easy as reaching out with questions as simple as “so what are you in this class for?” or “have you heard anything good (or bad) about this proffessor?” which will both more than likely spark up a great conversation.

Tip #3: Think of this experience as your first taste of what being a full time student would be like

One of the good things about being a dual credit student is that you get to see what college is like on a small scale. You can dip your toes into the college pool and see what a class is like without having to take on a full class load. As homeschoolers, people sometimes assume we won’t be cut out for college. By taking these dual credit classes you can ease your way into it, and build your confidence that college is a very possible option.

Tip #4: Take advantage of this opportunity to save money

Each school is different, but almost all dual credit classes are either offered deeply discounted or even free. I used this to get all the classes I needed for applications done at over half off! I also saved money by not having to pay for a separate high school curriculum. You’re paying one low price and getting two credits out of it. If you think you might want to go to college, take this opportunity to try some classes, and save some money.

I wish you the best of luck and share any tips you have in the comments below!