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Dual Enrollment


Dowagiac Campus

Brian Howard

Manager of Dual Enrolled Student Success

800-456-8675, ext. 2706

Niles Campus

800-456-8675, ext. 4811

Dual-enrolled Student Orientation

Students dual enrolling at SMC for the first time this Fall are expected to complete Dual-enrolled Student Orientation to learn how to be successful as an SMC student.
This year, orientation will be held online. Learn more about Dual-enrolled Student Orientation.

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 or contact SMC's manager of dual enrolled student success at 269-783-2706 or*

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 enrolled students may also participate in advanced Honors classes and programs. Read more about Dual Enrollment Honors Opportunities here.

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 Lewis Cass Intermediate School District (LCISD).

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:

Arts and Communication

Graphic Design

Business Management and Technology


Sports Management

Health Services

Health Services

Human Services

Criminal Justice

Early Childhood Education

Industrial and Engineering Technology

Automotive Technology

Construction Trades Green Technology


Welding Technology

Natural Resources and Agriculture

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 the first half of the day and SMC for the second half. 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 Lewis Cass 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, but 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

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 3     Apply to SMC

Apply for admission to SMC by completing the online application or by submitting a completed paper application to your high school guidance office or SMC's manager of dual-enrolled student success.

Admitted students will receive an acceptance letter in the mail which contains the information (student ID, username, password) they will need to register for classes.

Step 4     Submit High School Transcripts and Test Scores

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

Step 5     Take Placement Tests (if needed)

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.

Step 6     Register for Classes

SMC representatives will visit participating high schools on certain dates to help advise students who have been approved by the principal for dual enrollment and register them for college classes. Classes may be limited based on available class times, curriculum or pre-requisite restrictions or policies in effect at the high school.

Step 7     Complete Dual-enrolled Student Orientation

High school students dual enrolling with SMC for the first time in the Fall are expected to complete the online Dual-enrolled Student Orientation module prior to the start of classes. The module is designed to teach students about college expectations and give them valuable insights on how to be successful at SMC. Parents are also encouraged to participate. Learn more and complete orientation here.

Step 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.

Step 9     Finalize Your Schedule

Be sure to review the class schedule provided at orientation or viewable in the SMC Wired Student Dashboard, which is accessible with the student ID and password provided in the admittance letter. We ask that any changes be completed by the Friday prior to the start of semester classes.

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 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.