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Dual Credit Classes: Upper Classmen Getting Ahead

Friendship Christian School offers a dual credit program to benefit students as they prepare for further education. Simply stated, a dual credit program affords high school students the opportunity to take college credit-bearing courses taught by college-approved high school teachers. So what does it take for a high school course and a teacher to be college-approved? Let’s take a look at our program here at FCS. Our partnering colleges (Colorado Christian University and Maranatha Baptist University) review each teacher’s credentials to make sure each teacher meets the standard for regional accreditation. Each dual credit teacher at FCS has earned a master’s degree or higher in the content field; some have also earned additional certification in the field. Additionally, our partnering colleges individually review each course syllabus and often review the assessments as well. Our courses must show the rigors expected in a college-level class, and the syllabus must align with a course that the college is currently offering. Representatives from CCU and MBU check in with us periodically throughout the year and award college credit once they have received the final evaluations at the end of the course.

We offer eleven dual credit classes here at FCS. The lists below show the courses we offer from each partnering college:

* Introduction to the Arts is currently under review and should be available for students for fall 2020.

Because these courses are college courses, students must meet certain requirements in order to earn credit. First, the student must be either a junior or senior who has proven himself capable of handling the heavier workload. The student’s academic track record is reviewed as part of this process. Typically students who do well in honors classes during 9th and 10th grades also do well in dual credit classes the following years; however, students must maintain a grade of C- or higher in the dual credit course for the college to grant credit. (Students are expected to maintain A’s or high B’s in order to remain eligible for the FCS honors program).

The cost of attending college has skyrocketed over the past several years making college a dream for many rather than a reality. According to a 2018 study, the average cost per college credit was $594. Most college classes are 3-credit classes, bringing the cost to $1,782 for one college class.  Dual credit classes offer families an affordable alternative. Students can take the same course while in high school and pay just $200 for the entire course (less than $70 per credit hour). For just $2,200 our graduates can bring up to 35 dual credits with them to college. 

In addition to the financial aspect, taking dual credit can also benefit students in several other ways. First, students can knock off up to one year of college (college tuition as well) by graduating college in three years rather than in four. One of our 2017 FCS graduates finished her double major in three years and is using her fourth year to work on a master’s degree. Others have graduated early and started working in their careers of choice. Second, a student may opt to take a lighter work load through college and still graduate in four years. A 2019 FCS graduate who plays collegiate soccer has chosen this option to reduce the stress load since the demands of college sports take up so much time each week. This student can take fewer credits each semester because the dual credits gave plenty of “wiggle room” in the schedule. Third, dual credit allows students to warm up to college level courses by taking general courses in a comfortable environment with teachers they already know. Our students seem to really appreciate this for Public Speaking. Fourth and most importantly, we value the opportunity to teach these college-level courses from a biblical perspective. This becomes especially important for our students who attend a public college where their faith will be challenged–even at the most basic course level. It is our desire to show students how to view life through a biblical lens, and then we pray that our students take this with them to their college campuses as they become salt and light wherever God takes them.  

A note about colleges accepting these credits: We have had great success with our dual credit classes. Dual credit courses are entered on a transcript from a regionally accredited college and are therefore accepted just like any other transfer credit would be accepted. Families should check with their college of choice regarding that college’s transfer policy. Each college reserves the right to grant/refuse credit based on college policy. It is best to contact the registrar’s office before finalizing college admission–just to make sure you do not have any surprises during the registration process. For those interested in one of the UNC schools, note that UNC schools (including NC State) have accepted our credits.