For many high schoolers, getting ahead is a priority. After all, the competition to get accepted into university is fierce, and the requirements seem to get more rigid every year. That’s why students in Neshaminy High School are doing dual enrollment — to get a leg up.
The dual enrollment program allows students in high school to take two classes per semester at Bucks County Community College for free. The college courses run concurrently with the classes they’re already taking at the high school, allowing students to further their knowledge outside of the halls of Neshaminy. Addie Eliason, a senior at Neshaminy who is currently enrolled in the dual enrollment program, said, “I think it’s an amazing opportunity that many students from other schools don’t get.” Dual enrollment isn’t just offered to Neshaminy students, however. It’s a nationwide program, but varies depending on your school district.
According to the College Board, the average price for one semester of university is $12,645. Since students take four classes while enrolled in the program, they have enough credits for an almost complete semester when they move onto college. Eliason said, “I’ll be able to graduate college a semester early.” This helps the enrolled seniors save money and even gives them the opportunity to graduate one semester early from university.
BCCC even opens their arms to Neshaminy students, allowing them to participate in any campus activities. The activities span from clubs like the nursing club to the school newspaper, The Centurion.
Students enrolled in the dual enrollment program also get shorter days on certain occasions. Eliason said, “Because of their long breaks, I get a lot of half days at Neshaminy.” However, the students don’t get an academic-free spring break, forcing them to push through the last few months of their senior year. Eliason said, “We don’t get a real spring break since I have Neshaminy during Bucks’ spring break and Bucks during Neshaminy’s spring break.”
Transportation is also a major concern. Students have the option to be transported by a Neshaminy bus, but many choose to drive themselves to and from BCCC. While Neshaminy has their students pay for parking passes, it is free to park in BCCC parking lots. Gas money is one of the costs associated with choosing to drive for dual enrollment. Eliason said, “A con is having to drive to and from Newtown everyday.” For most students, the drive averages around five to nine miles depending on their location within the district.
Enrolling in the dual enrollment program also freezes the student’s GPA and class rank. For some, this may be optimal; for others, it could be a deal breaker on whether they choose to participate in the program or not. Annaliesa Dudley, a senior that’s participating in dual enrollment, said, “Even if we’re doing well in our classes, it isn’t affecting our rank and that can either be good or bad.”
Ultimately, Eliason truly enjoys her time at BCCC. She said, “I 100% recommend it, to be honest. I only really committed to it because my mom made me, but I’m so happy I did it.” Whether it be getting ahead or getting a taste of the college experience, there are a multitude of reasons to do dual enrollment.