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Dual enrollment courses at BHSU prepare high school students for college careers

High school students can save time and money by jumpstarting college at a discount through dual enrollment courses which are offered at Black Hills State University. A change last year by the state Legislature, allows high school juniors and seniors to earn high school and college credits at a cost of $40 per credit. Classes are held on the BHSU campus, at the University Center in Rapid City and through distance learning.

“Students have always been able to take classes for dual credit, but it was at full cost,” said Mitch Hopewell, coordinator of distance education at BHSU. “Now, it’s almost an 85 percent savings. It’s such a great opportunity.”

Beth Oaks, director of admissions at BHSU, said the number of high school students taking dual credits has increased, not only because of the high cost savings but also because some students want to expedite their education. 

“The trend in higher education is to get done sooner,” Oaks said. “Some students try to finish in three years. They want to start working right away.”

“Students really enjoy moving on to that next level of education and experiencing college a little before they get there so they are more comfortable,” said Shelly Lammers, a counselor at Sturgis Brown High School in Sturgis. “It’s always challenging for them to take a higher level course and do some higher level learning.”

All the courses offered are system general education courses, which are accredited at all South Dakota state universities and transferable. Nearly 300 sections of general education courses such as English, math, social science, lab science and arts and humanities are offered through dual enrollment. Most general education courses are three to four credits.

Lammers said she’s seen the interest in earning college credit as a high school student grow significantly since the reduced tuition rates were approved.

Students taking courses in the dual enrollment program often take high school and college courses simultaneously. Oaks said students in the dual enrollment program develop healthier study habits in their college courses and apply those same habits in their high school courses.

In addition, taking college courses in high school provides a smoother transition from high school to college life.

“This bridges the gap between the University and high school curriculums, strengthening that partnership,” Hopewell said. “Students are also able to keep their skills sharp by continuing their education in a specific field.”

“This gives students the opportunity to see what college is like. Many don’t know what to expect,” Hopewell added. “They can interact with other students, see what it’s like to have a faculty member teach, and see how they can deem success before making an academic decision.”

Requirements for the dual enrollment program are:

·         Students must be a junior or senior

·         Have a minimum 2.7 GPA

·         Minimum 50 percent class rank

·         Approval from high school guidance counselor or principal

The number of college courses a student can take per semester will be determined at the time of admission.

To apply for dual enrollment at BHSU students must fill out the Dual Enrollment Application Packet at www.bhsu.edu/dualenrollment and visit with their high school counselor or principal.

Students who wish to enroll for the upcoming fall semester must do so as soon as possible.

Credits earned through the dual enrollment program are a permanent part of a student’s high school and university transcript records. The credits can be transferred to a South Dakota Regental University or out-of-state school.

Return the packet to:

Black Hills State University
Office of Admissions
1200 University Street, Unit 9502
Spearfish, SD 57799-9502

For more information on dual enrollment, go to www.bhsu.edu/dualenrollment or call the BHSU admissions office at 605-642-6343.

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