The Distance Learner

Advice on earning a college degree through distance education

What Is Concurrent Education?

Another question I received during my NCHE workshop was in reference to something called “concurrent education” and whether it was compatible with distance education.

I wasn’t familiar with the phrase at the time the question was asked, but after doing some research it seems that it’s just another name for what many home schoolers choose to do: enroll in college-level courses while still in high school. This is often a very smart thing to do because the credit earned can be applied towards both a high school diploma AND a college degree. However, many families choose not to opt for dual enrollment because it can sometimes put an unnecessary strain on the student. (I myself chose not to pursue this avenue during my high school years.) For some families, though, it can be an excellent fit.

Back to the original question: can concurrent education/dual enrollment programs be pursued at a distance? The answer is: ABSOLUTELY! In fact, I would venture to say that dual enrollment is most effective when done at a distance. Why?

  • Transportation expenses (gas, parking fees, etc.) are avoided.
  • A potentially lengthy daily commute is not necessary. This gives students time for other activities.
  • Students are able to stay at home where they can take advantage of the guidance and counsel of their parents. (This counsel can be especially helpful if the student is taking a dual enrollment course at a secular university and the course content is overtly anti-religious.)

For these reasons, I would encourage home school families who are pursuing a concurrent education program to consider doing it through distance education. Many colleges are quite flexible about the student’s age when applying for distance education courses. Even if a college doesn’t have a program labeled “concurrent education” or “dual enrollment,” it is likely your student will still be able to enroll in one or more courses while still in high school.

Do you have any thoughts to share? Has your family had experience in pursuing concurrent education/dual enrollment options? We’d enjoy hearing your story! Please post a comment.