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Dual Credit 101

Dual credit courses give you the chance to earn college credit by taking one or more college-level courses while you’re still in high school. If you’re eligible, you’ll earn both high school and college credit for each dual credit course you take.

Dual credit courses give you a head start on college and can help you:

  • Save money on college tuition
  • Save time and earn a college degree faster, especially with the institution you took your dual courses with (see "A Great Start" information further down on this page)
  • Learn more about your career interest now
  • Increase your chances of completing a college degree

Here are some things to consider about dual credit:

  • The grades you earn in dual credit classes will count toward your grade point average (GPA) in college and will be a permanent part of your postsecondary transcript.
  • Your record in dual credit courses—your grades, the number of courses you take and/or withdrawals—can have an impact on your eligibility for financial aid and scholarships in college.
  • Colleges take different approaches to dual credit. Depending on which college you choose, you may not be able to apply all of your dual credit courses toward your degree.
  • Most colleges require a C or better for a class to count toward a degree and/or transfer.
  • High schools and colleges follow different academic calendars, so be sure to check your college’s calendar for conflicts with class trips, family vacations or athletic events. Your courses must come first.

Dual credit courses can take place at a variety of locations, including your high school, Area Technology Center, Career/Tech Center, the college and online. Wherever your course takes place, remember that you are enrolled in a college-level course, and that you will be treated as a college student. You will need to follow college policies, meet college deadlines and understand your teacher’s expectations. It may be hard to remember that you’re taking a college course if your course is taught at your high school by a high school teacher. Just remember that your teacher has been authorized by the college to serve as a college instructor. 

College Calendar

Get to know your college’s academic calendar and review it for important deadlines. Dual credit courses offered at high schools typically follow the high school calendar, while courses offered at the college or online typically follow your college’s calendar. Each college has its own calendar, so be sure to get a copy or access it online.

HOW Dual Credit Courses ARE Different from High School Courses

College differs from high school in many ways. The biggest difference is in how you manage your time. In high school, your time is mostly managed by other people—your parents, teachers, counselors and other adults. In college, you will be responsible for keeping track of your assignments, due dates and upcoming tests.


Here are some of the key differences. 

In High School:

  • You must go to high school
  • Others structure your time
  • Teachers remind you of responsibilities 
In College:
  • College is voluntary
  • You structure your time
  • You must balance your responsibilities

In High School:

  • Homework may take as little as two hours a week
  • Assignments are discussed and often re-taught in class
  • Your teachers tell you what you need to learn from assignments 
In College:
  • Expect to study two to three hours a week for each class hour
  • Assignments may not be directly addressed in class
  • You must read and understand the assigned material for yourself

In High School:

  • Frequent tests covering smaller amounts of material
  • Makeup tests are often possible
  • Test dates are often rearranged to avoid conflict with events or other courses
  • Learning goals typically focus on the ability to reproduce what you were taught or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown how to solve 
In College:
  • Infrequent tests that may cover a great deal of material
  • Makeup tests are rarely possible
  • Tests are scheduled without regard to the demands of other courses or activities
  • Learning goals typically focus on applying what you have learned to new situations or solving new kinds of problems

In High School:

  • Given for most assigned work
  • Good homework grades may help raise overall grade when test grades are low
  • Extra credit is often available to boost your grade
  • Test grades at the start of the semester may not affect final grade 
In College:
  • May not be given for all work
  • Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade
  • Extra credit is not typically offered
  • Initial tests are often used as “wake-up calls” for expectations 

In High School:

  • You spend 30 hours in class every week
  • The school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters and some do not
  • Teachers carefully monitor attendance
  • You are provided with textbooks at little or no cost 
In College:
  • You spend 12 to 16 hours in classes each week
  • The academic year is traditionally divided into two separate 16-week semesters
  • Professors may or may not take attendance
  • You will have to pay for textbooks 

In High School:

  • Review your homework
  • Remind you about incomplete work
  • Approach you if they think you need help
  • Are often available before or after class
  • Have been trained as teachers
  • Help you catch up after an absence 
In College:
  • May not always review completed homework
  • May not remind you of incomplete work
  • Expect you to ask for help if you need it
  • Expect you to attend scheduled office hours if you need help or feedback
  • Have been trained as experts in their academic discipline
  • Expect you to ask your classmates to help you catch up after an absence

A Great Start!

With dual credit, you earn college credits in high school. After graduation, you can finish what you started and enroll with us to earn your degree with the lowest college tuition in the state.

Do you want to attend a four-year university?
Start with us! Build on your dual credit general education courses with an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree, then transfer. This is the smart choice because:

  1. If you’ve taken at least four dual credit courses, you can earn your degree in just three semesters.
  2. You can save up to $22,000 in tuition by taking courses with us and take advantage of several transfer scholarship opportunities.

Do you want to go to work?
If you take technical courses with us, you can make a seamless transition to one of our Associate in Applied Science (AAS) career-focused degrees, Diplomas or Certificate Programs. Many of our AAS programs qualify for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship, so you may be able to continue your education tuition free!!!