Dual Enrollment Program Immerses High School Students in the College Experience

Santa Fe College’s High School Dual Enrollment Program has been adding value to the lives of students and enriching the Gainesville community for more than 35 years. Each year, nearly 500 eleventh and twelfth grade high school students participate in the program, taking classes as a Santa Fe College student that meet high school graduation requirements while working toward an associate degree.

Dual enrolled students take classes on the Santa Fe College campus and follow the SF college calendar. Credits earned are transferred to the student’s high school for graduation, and also remain on a Santa Fe College transcript and apply to SF degree requirements. Some dual enrollment students even complete their A.A degree by the time they graduate from high school.

At SF’s spring commencement in May, 39 Dual Enrollment students were awarded A.A. degrees before their high school diplomas. One of those students is Ara Ruth Tolar, a homeschooled student from Alachua County.

“The Dual Enrollment Program was a far better fit for me than traditional high school would have been,” Tolar said. “I got my A.A. at the same time as I was finishing high school and now I can go to UF in the fall to major in Speech Pathology, and then on for my master’s degree.”

Dual Enrollment counselors guide each student through program and class selection, monitor student attendance and grades, and work with students to develop strategies for success.

“Dual enrolled students benefit from having an authentic college experience, while being encouraged in a nurturing environment,” said Linda Lanza-Kaduce, Dual Enrollment Program Director.

Part of that authentic college experience includes access to SF’s library facilities, high-tech computer labs, 24/7 online tutoring, state-of-the-art science labs, gymnasium and weight room. Dual enrolled students enjoy all the benefits of any other Santa Fe College student, including free admission to campus productions in the Fine Arts Hall, admission to the zoo and planetarium, as well as participation in other on-campus activities.

“Dual enrollment is a fantastic opportunity,” Lanza-Kaduce added. “Students who don’t plan to get their A.A. before high school graduation will still get a jump start on their education, be immersed in the total college experience and get free tuition.”

The high school courses offered, which are mostly at the honors level, provide an excellent transition to college level courses. Also, Dual Enrollment saves parents hundreds of dollars in tuition and books and helps students qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship, saving the cost of further undergraduate education.

“My brother and sister both went through the program, so my mom wanted me to do the same. I was hesitant in the beginning, but now I am so glad that she urged me to do it,” Tolar added. “I just finished high school and now I will be a junior at UF in the fall.”

Whether working toward a high school diploma, taking classes to prepare for college, or earning an A.A. degree, Dual Enrollment is the smart choice. For more information on the dual enrollment program, including admission requirement and how to apply, visit http://www.sfcollege.edu/dualenrollment/.