Dual enrolled students sitting on Alumni Plaza

Dual-Enrolled Student Admissions

Start College in High School!

Dual enrollment programs at SMC let you get a jump-start on your college degree by earning college credit while still in high school, often for free.

To get started on any of these programs, see your guidance counselor and contact SMC's manager of dual enrolled student success.*

Home schooled students may also participate in these programs. Contact us to learn more.

*Eligibility requirements vary by district.

Types of Dual Enrollment

The term “dual enrollment” is used by the State of Michigan to describe any program in which a high school student may take college courses; however, there are multiple programs offered underneath the dual-enrollment umbrella. Click the drop downs below for more information about each type of dual enrollment.

  • Dual Enrollment

    Although it may seem redundant, dual enrollment is both the umbrella term for all dual-enrollment programs and it is also the name for a type of program under the broader dual-enrollment umbrella.

    Unlike other types of dual enrollment which are limited to select programs and classes, students in the dual-enrollment program can choose any program and have more flexibility in class schedules.

    The program is designed for transfer to four-year institutions, and courses tend to follow the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) or general education requirements. By completing the MTA, students are frequently able to transfer every credit they earn to in-state and many out-of-state institutions.

    In the dual-enrollment program, students may take up to 10 college courses. Typically, tuition is paid for by the high school, but textbooks are the responsibility of the student. Students attend classes at one of SMC’s campuses either during normal high school hours or in the evening.


    • Open to all high school students with qualifying test scores
    • Students must be 14 years old by November 1

    Best for: students who want to pick up some college credits from different subject areas but not in a specific field; students who plan to attend a large university and want to reduce their overall costs by completing common general education requirements without yet picking a major.

  • Career Academies

    Career academies are offered through the Heritage Southwest Intermediate School District (HSISD).

    With career academies, students are able to take college courses in career-focused programming. These programs are designed to give students exposure to the real-world applications of their education in certain career fields, including:


    Students in the career academies can earn up to 45 college credits and also have access to classes in which they may receive credentialing for certain employable skills (e.g. MIG welding, CNA certificate, etc.).

    Students attend high school for one portion of the day and SMC for the other portion. Tuition, fees and books are paid for by the school district. The curriculum is set, and attendance and grades are monitored.


    • Open to high school juniors and seniors

    Participating Schools

    • Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg, Marcellus
    • Berrien Springs, Buchanan, Niles
    • Others with CTE approval


    Learn more about Heritage Southwest Career Academies.

    Best for: students who show a solid interest in a particular field and want to maximize their credits in pursuit of that career.

  • Early Middle College

    Also called the “Fifth Year” program, Early Middle College is a unique partnership with SMC and select high schools that allows students to earn a full associate degree (60+ credits) by extending their high school career by one year.

    Students in the EMC program take SMC and high school classes simultaneously through their senior year and then study at the college full-time for an additional “fifth” year. Students in this program still walk with their original high school class at graduation and participate in all senior year activities, and they are formally granted their high school diploma and associate degree at the end of the fifth year.

    Because this program requires a large commitment from students, the requirements of this program are more stringent than for typical dual enrollment students. Students in this program have varying educational and career goals, so it is not limited to any particular career interest or academic destination. Tuition and fees are paid for by the school district.


    • Must agree to postpone high school graduation one year to participate in a fifth year of high school
    • Must apply before junior year of high school (check with your district for deadlines)

    Participating Schools

    • Berrien RESA Early Middle College
    • Cassopolis Early Middle College
    • Dowagiac Early Middle College
    • Edwardsburg Early Middle College
    • Marcellus Early Middle College
    • Van Buren Middle College


    Best for: students who can commit to a more formal course framework and want to complete an associate degree from SMC without paying for tuition.

  • Direct Credit

    Direct Credit courses are high school courses that are eligible for college credit and meet high school requirements. The courses are taught by high school teachers at the high school the student attends.

Steps to Becoming a Dual-Enrolled Student

  • 1. Contact Your High School Guidance Counselor

    Most high schools begin evaluating students for eligibility during December or January for enrollment in the following fall semester. Parents and students interested in participating should contact and express interest to their guidance office. Please note that the final decision on which students are eligible for college classes paid for by the high school district is determined by the high school principal or district superintendent.

  • 2. Attend a Parent Information Session

    High schools and intermediate school districts typically have parent information sessions in January or February. College representatives will be in attendance to explain the differences between program types and to answer questions.

  • 3. Apply to SMC

    Apply for admission to SMC by filling out the online application. Choose High School Guest when beginning the application.

    You should receive a decision letter via email and/or mail in one to two weeks. If accepted, the decision letter will contain a link to your Admitted Student Portal, where you’ll find your login credentials for SMC Wired, which you’ll use to register for classes, and your SMC email.

  • 4. Submit Your High School Transcripts and Test Scores

    To determine eligibility for courses, SMC will review a student's GPA and test scores (PSAT/SAT/ACT).

  • 5. Take Placement Tests

    After reviewing a student's transcript and test scores, it may be determined that Accuplacer placement tests are needed to further assess a student's eligibility for courses. If placement tests are needed, the student may take them on specific dates at the high school or at either campus of SMC. The Accuplacer tests are free, with one re-take permitted.

    Learn more about placement tests here.

  • 6. Register for Classes

    To register each semester, students can either meet with an SMC representative or send course requests by email to SMC. Please see the high school guidance counselor or home-school partnership coordinator for more information.

    Students can search for available courses here. Prerequisites for each course can be found in the College Catalog. Classes may be limited based on available class times, prerequisites, or policies in effect at the high school pr home-school partnership.

  • 7. Review Class Schedule

    Review your class schedule by logging in to SMC Wired, clicking Student Dashboard and then Registration from the Registered Credit Hours column. You can log in to Wired using the username and password you received on your acceptance letter. Click here for more on logging in to Wired.

  • 7. Complete Dual-Enrolled Student Orientation

    High school students dual enrolling with SMC for the first time in the fall are expected to complete Dual-Enrolled Student Orientation to learn about college expectations and to gain valuable insights on how to be successful at SMC. Orientation consists of two parts—an online module you can complete any time and an on-campus session. Parents are also encouraged to participate. Learn more and complete orientation here.

  • 8. Pick Up Books

    Either at orientation or before the start of classes, books will be available in the SMC bookstore on the Dowagiac Campus or in the Niles Campus Student Service Center. Please check the SMC website for hours, which may vary throughout the year. Please note that policies vary on whether books are paid for by the student or by the high school district, and the final decision rests with the high school principal or district superintendent.

Additional Information

More information can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page. Additional questions regarding the registration process, college admittance policies, or college resources can be sent to dualenrollment@swmich.edu. Questions regarding student eligibility, payment for classes or books, or transportation options should be directed to the appropriate high school guidance or principal’s office.


Dual-Enrolled Student Orientation

Students dual enrolling at SMC for the first time are expected to complete Dual-Enrolled Student Orientation to learn how to be successful as an SMC student.

Learn more about Dual-Enrolled Student Orientation.


Students in a classroom