Early College Credit Options
Dual enrollment helps students reach their college aspirations while in high school. It’s a cool concept and Montana students have the ability to go for FREE. That’s right, we said, “free!”
Here are just a few things we love about dual enrollment:
- Intro to College 101 - Students take college courses, earn credit that may apply to their high school transcript and to their future college studies, and gain a better understanding of the expectations professors set for college-level coursework. It’s a “best of both worlds” scenario - students experience a higher level of learning in a familiar environment, with an educator they likely know and trust.
- 1-2-FREE - The Montana University System launched the 1-2-FREE program in 2018, which allows high school students to take up to six credits from Montana public universities and colleges for free.
- Save Money - Put a dent in the cost of attendance by getting a head start in high school. You might even save time to earning your degree, too!
What Are My Options?
- On Campus - Courses may be offered for college credit only, or for both high school and college credit.
- Online - Courses may be offered for college credit only, or for both high school and college credit.
- At Your High School - More than 70 Montana high schools offer college-level courses on site. Connect with your school counselor to learn about courses offered at your school.
How Do I Get Started with Dual Enrollment?
- Contact Your School Counselor – visit with your school counselor to learn about dual enrollment options available to you, and to seek their assistance with the process.
- Contact a Dual Enrollment Coordinator in the Montana University System – these experts in dual enrollment can answer any question you might have.
- Contact the Montana University System – use this inquiry form to connect with the help you need to get started with dual enrollment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will credits transfer to other colleges?
Yes! You will have an official transcript from the college that awards your credits. The Montana University System (MUS) has implemented a common course numbering policy to ensure credits for equivalent courses are honored at all units of the MUS. Your credits may transfer as degree or elective credit at other accredited colleges and universities outside of Montana. Always check the credit transfer policy at the college you want to attend for details.
Can I receive federal financial aid for dual enrollment courses?
No, but there may be local foundations, organizations, or business groups that offer tuition assistance. Ask your counselor, principal, or dual enrollment coordinator if they know of any resources.
Are there any risks to taking Dual Enrollment courses in high school?
Yes. It’s possible to take dual enrollment courses that will not count toward the college degree you decide to pursue, or will count as an elective credit. Dual credit course grades become part of your permanent college record. If you withdraw, fail, or earn poor grades in dual enrollment courses, your college GPA and your eligibility for federal financial aid may be jeopardized.
Can I receive college credit for dual enrollment classes I took at my high school without registering through the college?
No. It’s important to follow the process and timeline for registration – both at the high school, and at the college.
Can I earn dual enrollment credit from more than one college?
Yes! You can take a combination of courses that best fit your goals. You can take dual enrollment courses online, at your high school, and at your college. If you earn credits from multiple colleges, you might consider transferring your credits to one institution so you have one complete transcript.
Taking challenging classes in high school can prepare you for college-level course work. There are two types of advanced courses that may be available at your high school: Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. When considering these options, always discuss with your teachers, high school counselor and your parents to decide if it's the right choice for you.
Advanced Placement (AP)
Advanced Placement is a program of College Board (the makers of the SAT) that allows you to take courses at your high school, which may earn you college credit and/or qualify you for more advanced classes when you begin college. So what are AP courses? They are designed to give you the experience of an introductory-level college class while you’re still in high school. Plus, you can get college credit for the class if you pass the AP exam for each course you take. Consult with the admissions office at the college you hope to attend to find out if they accept AP credits, and how those credits are recorded on your transcript.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
IB classes take a different approach to challenging subject matter. The approach is similar to what you would see in a college classroom - students are challenged to think critically and challenge assumptions. When tackling subject matter, discussions include local and global implications. In Montana, only a handful of high schools offer IB.
Advantages and Considerations of Advanced Classes
- You'll challenge yourself academically, which will surely keep school interesting!
- The structure and rigor of advanced high school classes are similar to college courses, which will prepare you for the next step.
- You might be able to earn college credit!
- There may be additional costs to taking advanced classes, check with your school so you know what the potential costs may be.
- In addition to course fees, there may be additional costs to take exams required to earn college credits.
- Your workload may increase. If you have a busy schedule, determine if adding more work is worth it to you.
- A poor grade may impact your GPA - choose classes wisely!
- Transcripts may reflect only Pass or Fail – not the actual letter grade earned, which may further impact your GPA.
Montana Digital Academy
Montana’s online program provides classes available to all Montana students and schools. Students can access a large catalog of available courses, all taught by Montana educators. Course offerings include Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment opportunities, and courses are delivered year-round. In addition, the Montana Digital Academy offers FREE online math tutoring through EdReady. Check it out!