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Can I earn university credits while still in high school?

April 21, 2022
Author: Eric Zimmer

Your questions about VIU’s Dual Credit program, answered.

Yes, being a high school student and a university student at the same time is entirely possible. And when it comes to getting a head-start on your post-secondary studies, VIU’s Dual Credit program can play a big part in helping you get where you want to go. Here are few facts about Dual Credit at VIU, and how it can enhance your educational journey.

What does dual credit mean?

At its core, dual credit “means you get credits on both your high school transcript and your university transcript for taking a university-level course,” says VIU Dual Credit Coordinator Tanya Lanigan. A total of 11 school districts on Vancouver Island are involved with VIU’s Dual Credit program.

What are some of main advantages of enrolling in a dual credit program?

Top-of-mind is the advantage of simultaneously being able to finish high school and gain university credits at the same time, says Tanya.

“If we’re looking strictly at academics, they’re able to avoid the ‘five-course crush’ in their first year of post-secondary – it’s like getting a head start,” she says. “If they do a trades program, then they have the opportunity to finish their Grade 12 year with a foundation certificate in whatever trade they’ve chosen.” Courses can be done online or in-person.

Taking this route can also be a way to save on university tuition costs. In VIU's Dual Credit program, tuition for academic courses is fully covered, while high school students who decide to do a trade see their program tuition covered or a “deep discount” in their tuition fee because school districts pay the tuition. And "it's because of this partnership with our school district partners, that we can offer tuition free opportunities to high school students," says Tanya.

Students who decide to pursue trades also have the option of participating in a trades sampler program that allows them to try out different options to help them find one that suits them best. “It’s a great way to discover what you’re passionate about, or finish school with your first level of training in Carpentry, Hairdressing, Welding or any of our other trades,” she adds. “With the foundation training under your belt, you can start work in industry right out of high school.”

What does the application process and timeline look like?

High school students interested in VIU's Dual Credit program can reach out their school district’s career coordinator or contact Tanya.Lanigan@viu.ca directly and she can help point them in the right direction.

“Students can also start with their high school counsellor to get the ball rolling,” she adds.

It should be noted that students in Grade 11 considering dual credits in Grade 12 need to get their applications in by the end of April in their Grade 11 year.

I’m interested, what do I do now?

To recap, if you are interested in taking a tuition-free dual credit course or program in 2022-23 at VIU:

• Talk to your parents.
• Plan your course selection for Grades 10, 11 and 12 to make sure you meet the VIU course prerequisites (English, Science and Math).
• Meet with your Career Centre Coordinator for more information/to apply.
• Contact VIU's Dual Credit Coordinator, Tanya Lanigan, at Tanya.Lanigan@viu.ca for more information.

Plan ahead. Take advantage of dual credit opportunities at VIU and start your post-secondary education and training early. Check out the programs and courses page for more information.

Got an article idea for the blog? Email students@viu.ca.

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