No. Dual enrollment destroys passion and should not be implemented

Katherine Wu, Assistant A&E Editor

Nothing in life comes for free, and dual enrollment is no exception. 

Dual enrollment was a recently proposed and approved program where students can take college courses outside of school to earn credits to be able to skip certain high school and/or college courses. The courses would be graded, and all grades would appear on a student’s transcripts. 

While these courses would be cheap (or even free) from a financial standpoint, they would still mainly be accessible to higher-class students. As the courses are taken outside of school, a working-class student may not be able to afford taking dual enrollment courses timewise. There are only 24 hours in a day, and it may be necessary for the student to spend those extra hours outside of school earning money at a job instead of taking extra courses. 

By giving those who are more financially fortunate these opportunities, the program would only further increase the education gap between students of different classes. 

In addition, students can still take college courses outside of school even without a dual enrollment program; they just won’t receive credits for their work. With the current policy, a student’s main motivation for taking an extra course would be passion. When there are no strings attached to taking the course, the ambitious student can focus more on doing what they love without having to worry about the negative impacts of a bad grade on their transcripts. 

By incorporating grades and extra incentives, the motivating factor behind going beyond expectations would be the grades and the credits. And these are not guaranteed; a student might easily become frustrated upon receiving a bad grade in the more competitive environment of a college course, and the grade would leave a permanent record. An unsatisfactory grade in a subject someone is passionate about can be even more discouraging, and it could potentially damage the student’s view on the subject.

The proposal claims dual enrollment would only be an additional option and not an expectation, but would this really hold true when applied? Take one of the most challenging high school courses, for example, AP United States History. Taking this rigorous AP course has almost become the norm, even though it was never meant to be an expectation. That’s simply how peer pressure works; no one wants to fall behind.

I know high school is becoming increasingly competitive, but these courses are not the solution. The seemingly harmless intent to restrict them to “higher-achieving” students will only cause other students to stress about falling behind and not being good enough for these “exclusive” courses. A student taking already-challenging honors courses would feel even more pressure to take these difficult courses that they may not be ready for, causing their grades, and more importantly mental health, to deteriorate. 

Instead, the ambitious student can enroll in college courses outside of school themselves, ones that they actually want to take instead of those which will just look good for colleges. There are plenty of free ungraded online classes, resources and niche-based competitions or scholarships which can also look good (or even better) on college applications. These can be done independently, which means they won’t put pressure on other students. 

As for high school credits, students can currently test out of courses they feel they have already mastered. Furthermore, college credits are not guaranteed. According to NBC, many colleges, especially the selective ones, don’t offer credit to students who have completed dual enrollment programs. 

Dual enrollment is a complicated idea, but will ultimately lead to some students biting off more than they can chew. There are so many other ways to stand out in a competitive market that don’t require putting passion at risk and damaging the mental health of others.