For some, the fastest path to graduation may be dual enrollment

Finding the right classes in order to maintain a suitable timeline to graduation can be difficult. At a small college like Washington State University Vancouver, required courses are not always available; fortunately, students have options. Taking classes from other colleges, such as Portland State University, Clark College or Lower Columbia College—while attending WSU Vancouver—can help students stay on track with their graduation timeline.

According to Student Achievement Manager Bill Stahley, the major reason most students will look to other colleges while still at WSU Vancouver is because of the limited schedule of classes WSU Vancouver is able to offer due to its size. Undergraduate students may seek a prerequisite course not offered at WSU Vancouver for a future graduate degree at another college, while using the course as an elective for their WSU Vancouver undergraduate degree.

Additionally, some students are able to use WSU Vancouver as a local source for generic pre-requisites and later transfer to a different college to complete a degree program that WSU Vancouver does not offer.

Another major circumstance that can drive students to taking classes at other colleges is the timeline to graduation. Some required classes are offered on a limited schedule of availability. If a student waits for a class to be offered again at WSU Vancouver, it could force the student to postpone graduation.

Stahley warns that duel enrollment does come with its own set of drawbacks.

“I don’t think any student who does it sees it as being ideal,” Stahley said. This option can end up being more expensive than only taking classes from one college. Managing two different schedules at two different colleges can be difficult, especially given the difference between WSU Vancouver’s semester system and quarter systems.

If a student decides to take classes from both WSU Vancouver and another college, working closely with the student’s adviser is vital. Advisers are able to verify if a class will work with the student’s degree. Stahley said that online tables listing course equivalents between colleges are not always accurate. Course numbers are not always enough to be able to check if a class will be accepted by WSU Vancouver. In these cases, a course description or syllabus will be needed.

“[Students should] be in communication with their adviser about [taking classes outside of WSU Vancouver]… a lot of times, advisers can come up with some solutions that really concern the best interests of the students,” Stahley said. WSU Vancouver’s flexibility is the advantage of being a smaller school; advisers and staff are eager to help facilitate a quicker timeline to graduation for students.

Photo Credit: Gregory Walker

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