Dual Enrollment at Catholic High Schools Builds a Bridge to UST
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a 7% growth rate in the number of high school students participating in dual enrollment programs. This uptick in taking college courses to receive higher education credit before graduating from high school has proven to be a successful path to finish a college education faster and for less money.
Dual Enrollment is on the Rise
“Nationally, dual-credit enrollments are on the rise,” Ryan Konkright, director of the University of St. Thomas Admissions Office, said. “In Texas, it is a very popular option for students. Many dual-credit programs are affiliated with community colleges, so it is remarkable and advantageous for students to consider the dual-credit options connected to four-year universities.”
UST, a Catholic private university, is revamping the strategic plan for its dual credit program to elevate the students’ experience so that it is a seamless one from application to registration to learning.
Currently, UST offers dual enrollment at select high schools based on memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that the University has with its dual-credit partners. UST is issuing college credit to students who successfully complete its courses. Currently, University of St. Thomas has the following agreements:
- Strake Jesuit
- Kolbe Academy
- Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
- St. Thomas High School
- St. Catherine’s Montessori
- St. John XXIII College Preparatory
Frassati Catholic High School Now Offers UST Dual-Credit Courses
As part of its strategic growth plan, UST recently expanded its reach to offer dual-credit courses at Frassati Catholic High School in Spring, TX. Frassati is a highly rated, co-educational, private, Catholic high school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.
“The University is now offering its first dual-credit class at Frassati Catholic High School,” Konkright said. “The initial course being offered is core curriculum, PHIL 1311 Philosophy of the Human Person. The class is taught by alumna and past adjunct faculty member Jessica Caruthers ‘10.” Caruthers holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy.
Classes Offered Online and In Person
Currently, UST’s dual-credit courses are hybrid — both in-person and online,” Konkright said. “It depends on each high school’s COVID response and ours as a university. When a high school operates on an in-person basis, students may have courses taught by a UST certified instructor. Students enrolled in our online courses have the opportunity to take the course taught by a UST faculty member,” he said.
Dual Enrollment Programs Provide Academic, Social and Financial Benefits
Konkright adds, “Overall, secondary students can concurrently earn high school credit and university credit when they enroll in dual-credit courses. The challenging experience that dual credit offers students allows them to prepare for college-level coursework while still in high school. UST dual-credit students have access to the same resources that our on-campus students do, so they have this experience before even setting foot on a college campus.
“What is so beneficial about UST dual credit is that students in our synchronous courses sit not just side by side with their high school peers who may be enrolled but are also woven into classes with UST students where collaboration and discussion are happening, enriching the experience for our dual-credit students,” Konkright said.
Establishing a Robust Pipeline of Students to UST
“In the long run, dual credit can save students money and time as they complete college-level coursework while in high school, which can transfer back to UST upon enrollment and satisfy degree requirements,” Konkright said. “Students can transfer these credits to other higher education institutions as well, although our goal is to inspire as many prospective Frassati Catholic students as we can to become Celts!”