English, history, psychology and mathematics are common to both high school and college schedules. Walters State’s dual enrollment program offers high school juniors and seniors the chance to take common general education requirements and earn both high school and college credit.
Walters State also offers career technical courses in agriculture, computer science, business and crimninal justice through dual enrollment.
High school students usually sign up for these courses during the last weeks of the school year. Covid-19 made that impossible this year. Now, students may now register online and meet with dual enrollment counselors through video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Over 1,200 students take dual enrollment classes through Walters State. Students attending high school or homeschool are eligible to participate if they have a 3.0 high school grade point average or a 21 ACT score.
“While it’s a different process, we have adapted quickly. Students have been wonderful about the transition. We could not have done this without high school counselors and their help. Parents have also been cooperative,” said Brian O’Dell, high school programs specialist.
Graduating from high school with a semester of college classes isn’t unusual. This year, three students completed associate’s degree while in high school – technically earning the degrees a few weeks before receiving high school diplomas.
“Most dual enrollment students take classes on a Walters State campus or at their respective high school,” said Matthew Hunter, who as dean of distance education oversees dual enrollment at Walters State.
“In some cases, students elect to take online classes because a specific class is not available to them at a nearby campus. Some students prefer online classes.”
Regardless of their choice, students have direct access to all Walters State resources and everything needed to be successful in college courses. Classes are small and instructors are available when one-on-one assistance is needed. Students also have access to library resources, online and peer tutoring and professional counseling and advising.
College credits transfer to colleges across the state and the country.
“High school students often take both dual enrollment and advanced placement (AP) classes. The biggest difference is that dual enrollment classes do not require one large comprehensive exam at the end of the semester as AP classes do. Once the dual enrollment course is over, students receive a grade and college credit if passed,” Hunter said.
Walters State leads all Tennessee community colleges in the number of dual enrollment students who enroll as full-time students at their dual enrollment college. For most, it’s a smooth transition.
Another incentive is the Walters State Promise Dual Enrollment Achievement Scholarship. Students completing at least four college courses (12 or more hours) with a 3.0 GPA receive a guaranteed scholarship of $1,000 per semester to attend Walters State. This scholarship is given in addition to the Tennessee Promise and/or Tennessee Hope Lottery Scholarship. This scholarship is guaranteed and is available to 2020 high school graduates who meet the requirements.
“This is a good way to pay for books and other expenses outside of tuition,” Hunter said.
For more information, contact Hunter at Matthew.Hunter@ws.edu. To register, students should visit: https://ws.edu/academics/distance-ed/dual-enrollment/.edu or 423-585-2611.