Dual Credit student Michelle White looking at the camera

Earn university credits while still in high school with VIU’s dual credit program

February 14, 2023
Author: Eric Zimmer

Fast-track your future while saving time and money too.

For Michelle White, the benefit of the Dual Credit Program at Vancouver Island University (VIU) is obvious: “It helps you get a step ahead in university, and it also helps you finish off high school.”

White is a high school student at Ladysmith Secondary School. She is also enrolled in VIU’s Culinary Arts program.

“I learn a lot and I get the opportunity to do a lot of things,” she says.

Finish high school while starting university

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. This gives students the advantage of simultaneously being able to finish high school and gain university credits at the same time.

“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,” says Tanya. 

Save on tuition costs

Taking this route can also be a way for students 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. Courses can be done online or in-person.

Explore your passions

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,” Tanya says. “If you do a trades program, then you can finish your Grade 12 year with a foundation certificate in whatever trade you have chosen. With the foundation training under your belt, you can start work in your industry right out of high school."

Echoing Tanya’s thoughts, Michelle says the dual credit program “helps you with your future because you now have a skill set that you know so young and you can get a job more easily because of that skill. I am very happy that I made this choice.”

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. 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.

Next steps

If a tuition-free dual credit course or program at VIU sounds like the path for you:

  • 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. 

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

Check out the programs and courses page for more information.

Graphic with Discovery Night written on it and VIU logo in right corner

Learn more about VIU at Discovery Night

Thinking about going to university? Come to Discovery Night on February 22 and hear more about how studying in your home community can not only save you money, but also give you unique learning opportunities. Discovery Night has options for high school students, parents and mature students. With fun activities, engaging conversation and the information that matters, this is an event you won’t want to miss. There are three options to choose from:

  • High School Student Sessions: 6–9 pm
  • Parents Sessions: 6–9 pm
  • Mature Student Pub Night: 8–9 pm

Register now

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