Dual Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for answers to the most frequently asked questions. For additional questions, please contact dualenrollment@swmich.edu or 269-783-2706.

How many classes can a student take per year?

The number varies by program, but most students take two or three classes per semester, depending on how early in high school they get started and how the college classes fit within the high school schedule time blocks. The State of Michigan expects local school districts to pay for up to 10 courses for eligible students during their overall high school career.

What classes can my student take?

There are many factors in this equation, including the student’s overall college readiness as determined by test scores and grades, the type of dual-enrollment program and available college class sections. Most students take Michigan Transfer Agreement courses, which are the English, math, science and humanities pre-requisite courses common to the first two years of study at any college.

What about Advanced Placement (AP) classes at the high school?

Taking AP courses taught by high school teachers is another way to strive for low-cost college credit. Be aware, however, that students must pass the final AP test with a score of 3, 4 or 5 to be granted credit at most colleges. Students scoring a 1 or 2 will not be granted college credit.

With dual enrollment classes at SMC, students will get an introduction to the college environment, have full access to college facilities and take classes with higher-achieving students and college faculty. As long as they pass the overall class with a grade of C or better, they will complete the high school requirement and be granted highly transferable college credit on an official college transcript.

Is a bus provided for students?

SMC does not provide transportation for students. It is the responsibility of students to drive or find a ride to campus for their college classes. The availability of buses from the high school to either campus of SMC is entirely at the discretion of the high school district.

Who pays for books?

Payment for books varies by high school and by program and is the decision of the local high school or intermediate school district. Questions about payment for books should be directed to the high school guidance office or to the SMC Business Office at 800-456-8675, ext. 1298 or ecashier@swmich.edu.

Where can I get a student book voucher?

If payment for books is to be covered by the local high school or intermediate school district, book vouchers will be available at orientation sessions, at the bookstore on the Dowagiac campus or in the Student Service Center at the Niles Campus.

My student was registered a few months back but needs to change their schedule. How do we do that?

Please contact dualenrollment@swmich.edu to request schedule changes. We strongly discourage switching between sections of the same class and ask that schedule changes be completed by the Friday before classes begin for the semester. Class additions must be authorized by the high school principal prior to being implemented if tuition is to be covered by the district.

Do I really need to go to a Dual-enrolled Student Orientation?

Attendance at an orientation is strongly recommended for students who are new to dual enrollment at SMC. While not strictly required, information critical to the success of the student in a college environment will be reviewed. Research has shown that students who attend an orientation are much better prepared for Day 1 and are more successful overall in their college courses. Since key staff will be available on campus during those days, orientation is also an opportunity to find classrooms, pick up books, get student IDs, ask questions and complete other business rather than waiting until the first day of class.

Where are the orientation sessions?

The orientation sessions will be conducted in various buildings on the Dowagiac campus. Students attending classes at the Niles Campus should attend an orientation session in Dowagiac if possible and are welcome to stop in at Niles Campus anytime during regular business hours (Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) or email niles@swmich.edu with additional questions.

What grade does my student need to be granted college credit?

A passing grade of “D” or better will usually be enough to fulfill the high school requirement and grant credit on an official SMC transcript. However, most colleges will not grant transfer credit from any institution for classes completed with a grade below a “C”. Therefore, it is highly advisable to pass the class with a “C” or better so credit can be transferred later if so desired.

What happens if my student fails the class?

SMC provides outstanding support for all students during their enrollment, including involved faculty, free tutoring services at both campuses, an extensive library and even mental health counseling, if appropriate. An academic warning system provides notice if a student is struggling, and high school guidance counselors also monitor student progress.

However, if despite all of these interventions, a student is unwilling or unable to do the work required for a passing grade, the failing grade will be entered into that student’s record at the high school and on their official SMC transcript. Also in that case, the high school district may require repayment of tuition by the student family to the district.

How will I know how my student is doing in their college class?

The high school guidance counselor will be able to provide updates on the progress of the student. Students can also see their current grades in the SMC Moodle platform and past grades in their Student Dashboard in SMC Wired.

What about snow days?

SMC generally aligns as much as possible with the local school districts when setting calendars and making the decision to close due to weather conditions. However, if the college is open and classes are meeting, dual enrolled students are expected to attend class regardless of the high school’s status, sports or extracurricular schedules or high school class trips.

Can my student take classes on their own time?

If the student is at least the age of 14, has applied, been accepted and can prove college readiness through testing (PSAT, SAT, ACT or Accuplacer), the student can take classes outside of their high school hours and/or in the summer months. All associated costs will be the responsibility of the student.

How will the college credit show up after the semester?

Once final grades are posted at the conclusion of an academic semester, they will be reflected on an official college transcript under the student’s name and identification number. For a small fee, the student may then request the transcript be sent to other institutions, if desired, through the SMC Records Office.