MCNC Enhanced Dual Enrollment System Mindmap

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Enhanced Dual Enrollment as a college readiness strategy

Early Colleges have demonstrated gains for their target population in college preparedness but as budgets tighten in school districts and colleges, Middle College National Consortium suggests that dual enrollment can be used to provide more students with college readiness.  MCNC practitioners have developed dual enrollment strategies and practices that can be used in districts to increase the number and success of students traditionally not found in higher education.


An Enhanced Dual Enrollment System (EDES) has as advantages the ability to:

  • Change the high school culture
    • by changing the expectations of students exposed to college classes
    • by raising the level of student commitment to hard work.
  • Reach a wide range of students because:
    • Schedules provide options which appeal to students with multiple social and economic obstacles: i.e. summer, evenings, Saturdays
    • Schedules provide opportunities to learn content over longer periods of time and with extra time built in.
  • Provide authentic measures and data on college preparation developing personal gauge of academic efficacy.
  • Provide for academic and psycho-social growth by being with more diverse age groups.
  • Embed the college knowledge strategies, such as time management, into practice.

Dual enrollment, for nontraditional students, must be enhanced by using four proven early college strategies:

  1. A Comprehensive Program of Academic Preparation

Academic preparation lays the ground work that dual enrolled college classes is an expectation of all  students not just motivated students or students already deemed college ready.  It develops new college readiness measures beyond state and college placement tests.  It also includes orientation to the college environment by requiring academic writing and the reading of difficult texts.

Every dual enrolled class should align to the high school curriculum and be part of a sequential pathway that allows all students to enter at various stages in their high school career based on readiness.  The dual enrolled class is used as a substitution for high school classes and is offered in ways that use time in new ways such as summer, evenings, and weekends.

  1. Support that is academic and social-emotional provided by both the high school and college

The support is provided by academic discipline, is mandated and is tracked to student outcomes. It is important to focus on metacognitive skills that help orient students to the demands of the college level work. Seminars or tutoring sessions that help students develop peer relationships for study are an important vehicle for future independence.  Help with the demands of home and school are needed for first generation college going youth who may not understand the demands of time placed students  and the conflicts that arise in families that want their child to go to college but do not know how to offer appropriate support.

  1. Deep collaboration between the high schools and the colleges

The collaboration includes

  • A formal MOU that specifies the target population and defines the role of each partner including administrative duties, academic responsibilities, data sharing and financial considerations for books and tuition.
  • Access to the college campus should be open to all dual enrolled students accompanied by a college ID and invitations to the events on the campus.
  • The collaboration should build on existing partnerships, with orientation for new participants and personnel and adaptation to new circumstances.
  • A high level of leadership is required from both partners and a commitment to find multiple ways to determine college readiness.
  • The Enhanced Dual Enrollment Program works best when there are designated offices and personnel at each institution where the students can go for help in navigating the system.
  • Time must be set aside for regular monthly meetings to ensure communication and data sharing and leadership to strengthen the collaboration.
  1. Professional development for all staff; college and high school

Embedded, ongoing joint professional development provides for the development of a community of practice focused on students that are crossing institutional boundaries.

  • It relies on the strengths of each institution,
  • Focuses on student outcomes
  • Aligns the curriculum.
  • It provides opportunity to clarify the college expectations and modify the high school curriculum
  • Eliminates remediation and redundancy.
  • Provides support for all faculty involved to develop new skills and enhance the use of technology.

MCNC can help you create a College Readiness Design for your district that incorporates the learning from Early College and is tailored to your policy environment.