Dual Credit

It began with one class, as something of an experiment, and ended up saving their family thousands of dollars. This past summer, high school sophomore Shelby Callahan took one course through a program available at Campbellsville University in Louisville’s campus, just to see how she would fare at college-level work. The honors-level student took English 111—and came out of it wanting more.

“It really boosted my confidence,” says the 15-year-old from Shelbyville, Kentucky. “That English 111 class was a doozy. But after I completed it, I was dang proud of myself.”

English 111 gave way to a geology course, then to classes in sociology and the Old Testament, with studies on wellness, history, art, the New Testament, and a geology lab all on deck. All of them count toward Shelby’s high school graduation. And all of them also count as college credit—at a fraction of the undergraduate cost, thanks to a Campbellsville Dual Credit program that lets high schoolers as young as sophomores get an early jump on college work.

“Some of my students, when they start as an undergrad, basically have their freshman year complete,” says Shelby Harding, High School Enrollment Counselor and Academic Advisor at Campbellsville’s Louisville Education Center. “It can put them a year or maybe even two ahead of the game in their college career. They can go ahead and knock out those general education classes, and focus more on what they’re really interested in.”

In addition to getting ahead, students can save money at the same time—Dual Credit programs cost $70 per credit hour, compared to $399 for high school graduates. The courses can be taken through a participating high school or via the same remote learning method that every Campbellsville University in Louisville student uses, with professors and students gathering virtually at a specific time, able to ask questions and interact through chat rooms and other online platforms.

‘A tremendous blessing’

Shelby Callahan is the oldest of three children, and since the fifth grade, has been homeschooled by her mother, Renee. Although the Callahans have had success using a national co-op curriculum, with Shelby now in high school, Renee wanted to make sure her eldest met all state requirements for graduation.

“Shelby had previously been working in an honors-level type program, and we wanted to maintain a high quality of curriculum and work,” Renee says. “A friend at church asked me, ‘Did you know she can take Dual Credit classes?’ I thought that was maybe only available if you were in public school. So word of mouth is how we found out about it, and it's been a tremendous blessing.”

To qualify for the Campbellsville Dual Credit program, each student’s high school transcript, grade-point average, and higher education goals are evaluated and Harding helps match them to the appropriate classes. Dual Credit courses focus on general education such as English and basic math and science, and introductory courses to tracks like business and criminal justice. Over 40 high schools, Christian academies and home school networks are part of the program.

“It's a great opportunity for high school students to complete some general education classes while they're still in high school, at a more affordable rate,” Harding says. 

The Callahans shopped around for similar programs, “and Campbellsville was the most affordable out of all of them,” Renee says. “So it was an absolute no-brainer, to be honest. Shelby loves it. She loves the independence. She’s meeting people from all over the world. She has every range of age and ethnicity in her classes. She’s interacting with people of all ages, all cultures, all backgrounds. So she’s also learning how to interact with people, and that is invaluable.”

‘A whole new rodeo’

Should she continue taking Dual Credit courses at her current pace, Shelby Callahan is on track to graduate high school with 24 college credits. But she’s still a 15-year-old girl who loves art, animals and music, so there’s no rushing what comes next. “She's still a sophomore, and I don't want to limit her,” her mother says.

There’s talk of an internship or work-study program during her senior year of high school and continuing her education at Campbellsville University in Louisville to obtain a business degree. “If Shelby were interested in continuing her education with us at Campbellsville, it would be an easy transition process,” Harding says. “On the undergrad side, she would get priority acceptance.”

Right now, though, the focus remains on high school. Campbellsville University in Louisville’s Dual Credit courses have effectively become Shelby’s curriculum—all of it spurred by that single English class she took a few months ago. “It was like a whole new rodeo,” she says. “It was just great for me to be able to experience something new and different.”

Interested in learning more about the Dual Credit program at Campbellsville University in Louisville and how it can be a cost-effective means of helping students get a head start on college? Call (502) 753-0264, contact them at https://www.cu-louisville.com/, or visit the program’s website for further information.