Understanding the experiences of dual enrolled students and the influence on the college admissions decision
Jenkins, David Charles
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Dual enrollment is a form of accelerated learning that allows students to earn college credit during high school. The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of dual enrolled students and the factors that influenced their decision-making regarding where to continue their postsecondary education. The study included a review of credit-based transition programs including advanced placement, international baccalaureate, and dual enrollment. Credit-based transition programs provide high school students with an opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. A history of dual enrollment along with the types of programs and the different course environments are discussed. This qualitative research study used Krumboltz’s Happenstance Learning Theory (2009) as a framework for understanding the student’s dual enrollment experience and the influence on the college admission decision. To understand and make meaning of the lived experiences of dual enrolled students, the study included personal interviews with 13 first-year students who earned college credit through dual enrollment in high school. The study took place at a small, public, four-year university in a rural area of the southeastern United States and identified reasons why dual enrolled students either persist or choose to leave the institution where they earned their dual enrollment credits. Five themes emerged when analyzing the data including college preparedness, financial incentives, college readiness, challenges encountered, and college selection. These insights into the students’ dual enrollment experiences may help postsecondary institutions better recruit and retain students.