Conduct outreach to underserved students and schools

Actionable Takeaways

  • Schools and campuses should consider how courses can be offered on campus and during the school day for dual credit where possible to increase equitable access.
  • Schools and campuses should meet regularly (at least annually) to reflect on data around equity, access and success in dual credit courses and consider where changes to eligibility requirements can increase equity and support students.

Award high school credit for college courses.

Dual credit courses allow students to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school, providing them with a head start on their college education. By completing college-level coursework, students are exposed to rigorous academic challenges that prepare them for the academic demands of college. By awarding high school credit for dual credit courses, schools ensure that students receive recognition for their hard work and dedication, while also encouraging them to pursue higher education opportunities beyond high school; dual credit courses are not a replacement for high school learning, but instead open a pathway for students to continue their learning even after they have mastered the high school content. Overall, dual credit programs provide students with valuable academic and financial advantages that can help them succeed in college and beyond.

Awarding high school credit for college courses requires careful planning. Principals are responsible for determining whether students receive high school credit for college courses. This includes documenting the alignment of the course to New York State commencement-level learning standards and determining how the credits will relate to the sequences required for graduation. Refer to the academic policy guidance on College Courses for Dual High School and College Credit for more information about course credit policies and reflecting dual credit courses in NYC PS student information systems.

When possible, offer dual credit courses during the school day.

Offering dual credit courses during the day, rather than during out of school time such as after school or on the weekend, provides a more equitable and accessible pathway for high school students to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. Firstly, scheduling dual credit courses during the school day ensures that students can take advantage of the full range of course offerings, without having to sacrifice their after-school or weekend time. This is especially important for students who work part-time jobs, participate in extracurricular activities or have other responsibilities outside of school. Secondly, by taking dual credit courses during the day, students are able to fully integrate with college-level coursework and college-aged peers. This can enhance their academic and social development, preparing them for the academic rigor and independence of college life. Finally, scheduling dual credit courses during the day can also help to reduce barriers to access for students who may face transportation or childcare challenges outside of regular school hours. Though there may be challenges associated with offering dual credit courses during the day, strong communication, schedule alignment, and recruitment and scheduling timeline alignment between partner colleges and high schools is a key component to successful implementation. It is worth exploring various models—and their implications—for offering dual credit courses during the day.

Ensure equitable identification by targeting all eligible students.

To ensure equitable identification, schools should make an effort to target all eligible students to participate in dual credit courses rather than subsets of traditionally high achieving students. This can be accomplished by implementing a variety of strategies, such as providing information about dual credit opportunities to all students and their families, rather than just those who have high GPAs or other academic accolades. Schools should conduct active recruitment efforts and information campaigns at multiple points throughout the year to engage prospective students and families, and so via culturally and linguistically sensitive ways.

An equitable practice that high schools may employ is offering at least one course that has no prerequisites other than passing high school courses in the previous semester, as this establishes an entryway to dual credit and attaining college credit in high school. Dual credit courses that do not necessitate prerequisites may include entry-level courses such as freshman seminar. Participating in an entry course that does not have academic requirements allows students to experience a course at the college level, thus introducing to both students and their families how to navigate the college system and set a foundation for what they may expect in future college courses.

By targeting all eligible students and removing barriers to participation, schools can ensure that dual credit programs are equitable and accessible to all students, regardless of their academic performance, leading to expanded opportunities for college readiness and a pathway to success for a wider range of students.

Offer introductory courses to remove barriers to entry. 

In the context of college education, there are typically three types of offerings that students may encounter: No-credit courses, Corequisite courses, and Full-credit courses. These offerings differ in terms of their college credit value and the level of commitment required from students. (Please note that the terminology and specific policies may vary between colleges and universities.)

  • Corequisite courses: Corequisite courses are designed to be taken simultaneously with another college course, with both courses being closely related or complementary to each other. These courses are usually credit-bearing, meaning they contribute towards the total credits required for a degree or certificate. Corequisites are intended to provide students with additional support or knowledge in a specific subject area, enhancing their understanding and performance in the primary course. For example, a mathematics corequisite course may be offered alongside a calculus course to help students strengthen their foundational math skills. These courses are typically awarded 1 credit. 
  • Full-credit courses: Full-credit courses are the standard type of courses offered in college that carry a specific credit value, usually expressed in credit hours. These courses are part of a degree or certificate program and contribute towards the fulfillment of college graduation requirements. Students earn academic credits upon successful completion of these courses, and the credits are typically transferable to other educational institutions. Full-credit courses involve comprehensive study, regular assessments, and evaluation through assignments, projects, exams, or a combination of these methods. The credit value assigned to these courses reflects the amount of academic work and the expected learning outcomes. These courses traditionally earn 3 credits. 
  • No-credit courses: No-credit courses, as the name suggests, do not offer any academic credit towards a degree or certificate program. These courses are often designed to provide students with specific knowledge or skills without the need for formal evaluation or grading. No-credit courses may include workshops, seminars, or short-term training programs that focus on specific subjects or practical skills. While students do not earn credits for these courses, they can still benefit from the knowledge and experiences gained. An example may include identifying pre-CUNY Language Immersion Programs (CLIP) and college-level ESL courses to support English language acquisition among English Language Learners.

Offering a variety of courses amongst the above types may be beneficial when offering dual credit courses to engage students in college-level courses, with the goal of students taking a minimum of at least one full-credit course. 

Orienting students through college success courses

College success courses—also called “student success” or “introduction to college” courses—are commonly offered to help new students at community colleges. They are sometimes mandatory, including for dual enrollment students, as research has demonstrated that taking such a class can increase course completion and persistence in the first year of college.

The structure and curriculum of these courses varies, but they typically introduce students to academic structures and campus resources, help them with academic and career planning, teach study habits and other skills, and deepen their sense of self and belonging. Many higher education institutions offer First-Year Seminar or similar courses or workshops. For example, Pierce College’s College 110, which all Running Start students are required to take, covers topics including:

  • Career interest assessment
  • Education planning
  • College services and resources
  • Information competency and library resources
  • Reading, note-taking, and test-taking strategies
  • Time management
  • Growth mindset
  • Academic persistence and resilience
  • Understanding syllabi
  • Personal strengths

Accessing College Now

Supported by funding from the New York State Education Department, New York City Public Schools, and CUNY, College Now supports dual enrollment and dual credit programming opportunities in New York City. For NYC public schools CUNY’s College Now program is the largest dual enrollment program in New York City, and schools and students incur no additional cost for participating.

For high schools wanting to partner with CUNY’s College Now program, please complete this application.