Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Dual and Concurrent Enrollment - How High School/College Partnerships Can Benefit Students

By Marilee Petranovich

The core of UNM-Gallup’s mission is based on preparing all students to achieve their educational and professional goals.  We serve a largely diverse population that includes high school students, traditional students who enter immediately after high school, and non-traditional students who start or return to college later in life to finish or improve their skills.  Providing equal access to all students is an important part of our educational purpose and allows us to offer academic services to broad groups of students.

Dual and concurrent enrollment is one manner in which higher education institutions can open their doors to high school students who want to expand their horizons and explore postsecondary options.  Helping students matriculate from high school to college may seem simple and logical, but there is actually quite a bit of complexity to the equation of how to seamlessly integrate high school graduates successfully into college or directly into the workforce.  Helping students see what their lives might look like after high school and easing the transition into college presents an opportunity for collaboration between the graduating high schools, receiving colleges and the local community.  Using dual and concurrent programs is one such way that students can benefit from carefully designed options that increase their accessibility to a larger variety of academic opportunities.

There is a growing national movement taking root in many communities that is placing responsibility for supporting students at crucial times during their educational journey not only in the hands of school personnel, but in the hands of local businesses, universities and civic members.  Programs such as dual/concurrent enrollment become one of the ways communities can become part of a larger support system for students by combining forces and resources to maximize a student’s probability of successfully choosing a life path that encourages life-long learning and economic well-being. 

Community engagement as a model is gaining strength as it defines efforts aimed at collaboration between postsecondary institutions, high schools and their larger communities.  These opportunities for collaboration focus on improving the chances that students will transition successfully from one level of education to another with clear expectations and measurable outcomes and have access to supports necessary for success.  Furthermore, these programs seek to align with local industry requirements to allow for direct entry into the workforce as required by local employers.  

Dual/concurrent enrollment looks at the collective impact of partners working shoulder to shoulder to identify and eliminate barriers that impede student learning while increasing opportunities.  By hovering between high school and college through dual/concurrent programs, students can be introduced to higher education, begin accumulating a nest egg of college courses, reduce college debt and complete their high school requirements all while benefiting from the support of counselors, instructors and classmates at both sites.

UNM-Gallup is a proud partner in several dual/concurrent credit programs which include the Center for Career and Technical Education, Middle College High School and the McKinley Academy.  While there are some differences in structure, program organization and enrollment requirements, all provide high school students the chance to experience college at the same time they are completing high school.

There are many benefits to students of participating in a dual/concurrent credit program including graduating from high school with college experience and a more realistic understanding of what college expectations are and what is needed to be successful after high school.  Access to programs not available at their high school is another clear benefit of dual/concurrent enrollment.  Early exposure to college classes can also help students enter into career-themed pathways and programs of study.  This ability to concurrently prepare students for both college and careers adds popularity to these secondary/postsecondary partnerships.  

In the state of New Mexico, state statutes direct the objectives of dual/concurrent enrollment to be an increase of opportunities for high school students and a more efficient usage of instructional staff, facilities, equipment, student support services and technical advisory committees at both the high school and the college levels.  These organized partnerships also allow for articulation between curriculum requirements and local workforce needs.

Although there are different ways of offering dual/concurrent enrollment to students, research and experience indicate that the benefits to the students are tremendous in multiple ways.  Students gain exposure to coursework at the college level at an affordable price, they are able to get both high school and college credit simultaneously and they are able to exit their programs with a strong understanding of whether they want to continue on for further college work or enter directly into the workforce.  UNM-Gallup is a proud partner in promoting these opportunities to students.

For more information contact:

(505) 863-7770

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