dual credit

Dual Credit Programs – Take Free University Courses During High School

Kids these days are very fortunate—just look at all the educational opportunities they have! There are so many options available, including online schooling, cross-enrolment, and dual credit programs.

What Is a Dual Credit Program?

dual credit student

Dual credit programs are partnerships between high schools and colleges/universities. They’re designed to help students get a head start in life and achieve their future career goals. As part of a dual credit program, grade 12 students attending high school in British Columbia (and many other provinces) are eligible to take university-level courses alongside their regular high school courses. This helps students meet graduation requirements and make a smooth transition to post-secondary school.

In order to graduate, students in BC need a total of 80 high school credits. Dual credit programs are great because students will earn both high school credits and university credits for the same course. Each university course, being one semester long, is worth four credits toward graduation and four credits toward university studies. The best part? The university courses are completely free!

What’s the Catch?

There are a few rules to the game, but they’re easy to follow. The following list explains everything:

1. Students Can Take a Maximum of Four Dual Credit Courses

According to Derek Beeston, dual credit coordinator of the Career Technical Centre in Nanaimo, School District 68’s dual credit program is “a transition program and not meant to pay for [the entirety of] first-year university.” While the program will pay for a student’s university courses during high school, students can take no more than two university-level courses per semester this way, which makes four university-level courses in total.

2. Students Need to Be Enrolled in Regular High School Courses

In addition to their university courses, students must be participating in standard high school courses. This means that students are not able to take only dual credit courses—there must be regular high school classes in their course load. Bear in mind that university courses often have prerequisites, usually at the grade 12 level, so a dual credit student should be taking those prerequisite courses early to ensure they qualify for their university courses.

The most important prerequisite is English 12, so students should plan their course loads to get it done before grade 12 starts. One potential pathway would be to take English 11 in the first semester of grade 11 and English 12 in the second semester of grade 11. This would allow you to qualify for your dual credit classes in the first semester of grade 12, giving you a big advantage going into post-secondary studies.

3. Students Must Declare a Career Path
dual credit career

Dual credit programs help students bridge the gap between school and their future careers. So, before being accepted into a dual credit program, students need to declare what they plan on doing after they graduate. The Career Technical Centre mentions that dual credit courses “must lead to a specific career,” which isn’t much of a restriction as long as you know what you want to do after you graduate. From there, you just need to prove that your university-level courses will help you achieve your career goals, and you’re good to go!

4. Dual Credit Programs are for Grade 12 Students

Sorry, grade 11s—you’ll have to wait another year, unless you plan on graduating early. Derek Beeston mentions that SD68’s dual credit program “is meant for grade 12 students,” but he also notes that he has “made exceptions in the past for students graduating a full year early.”

5. Marks Matter

Prior to acceptance, students’ grade 10 and 11 marks will be reviewed. Naturally, students with the highest marks are considered first, especially in the case of limited space. If you’re worried about your marks, you can get special recommendation for the program from a teacher or a counselor—just say ‘please’!

How Can I Enrol in a Dual Credit Program?

Not every school district will have access to a dual credit program, so you’ll first have to inquire. Tanya Lanigan, dual credit coordinator at Vancouver Island University, suggests that “high school students interested in our dual credit program [should] start with their district career coordinator.” Each school district will have a district career coordinator, and students can usually get in contact with them through their career education teacher.

School District 68 Nanaimo

In the case of SD68, Derek Beeston at the Career Technical Centre is the district career coordinator. Students in Nanaimo are encouraged to contact him via email (dbeeston@sd68.bc.ca) if they wish to participate in SD68’s dual credit program. Students interested in trades can check out the Career Technical Centre’s TRAIN in Trades program and WORK in Trades program.

School District 61 Victoria

SD61 in Victoria offers a dual credit program in partnership with Camosun College and the University of Victoria. They also allow students a chance to train in trades and work in trades during high school. Students in Victoria can contact their career teacher (list of career teachers) to get started.

School District 71 Comox Valley

SD71 in the Comox Valley has a partnership with North Island College, and they offer dual credit programs for a variety of career paths. They also give students a chance to work in trades to earn graduation credits and real work experience which can be put toward apprenticeship hours. Students interested in a dual credit program with Vancouver Island University can contact their career teacher for more information.

dual credit success

We Can Help with Post-Secondary Education

At Tutoring…With a Twist*, our philosophy is all about building life skills. We believe that learning is a lifelong pursuit, so we prioritize transferable life skills that will allow students to thrive in school, their career, and whatever else life has in store. This lines up nicely with the career-focused aim of dual credit programs, and we would love to help you every step of the way. Contact us today for more information about what the twist can do for you!

With today’s fast-paced learning environment, kids can use a leg up. That’s why we’ve decided to help by handpicking our favourite education resources, sorted by grade level. You’re welcome!

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*Services provided by With a Twist Education Ltd.

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