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Dual Enrollment Offers High School Students Opportunity to Obtain College Credits
Posted 3/8/23

Estancia Medical AcademyTaking college-level courses builds on the foundational knowledge students obtain in their high school classes and allows them to expand their interests and get ahead on college coursework. Thanks to a Dual Enrollment partnership between Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) and several local community colleges, students can take courses that meet college entrance requirements, at no cost. This allows high school students the opportunity to explore career interests while obtaining credit toward a college degree or certification.

While a few courses are offered on NMUSD campuses, most Dual Enrollment classes take place at Coastline College, Orange Coast College (OCC), Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College

“Students love being able to take outside classes that carry college credit. It’s an excellent opportunity to get ahead while still in high school,” said Corona del Mar High School’s (CdMHS) College and Career Programs Coordinator, Mary Russell.

Students at CdMHS can enroll in the History of Rock Music, which focuses on the social and musical impact on American culture of rock and roll from the 1950s through the present, while earning credit toward the art requirement for a high school diploma and credit toward their college degree as well. The Coastline College class is offered on the CdMHS campus.

Students at Estancia High School can enroll in the Estancia Medical Academy, a Career Technical Education pathway that includes on-campus and off-site classes that expose students to a variety of health-related careers. Students take such courses as Emergency Medical Responder, which builds on their basic knowledge of biology to prepare them for a career in fire service, sports medicine, lifeguarding and other emergency medical services. Through this course, students also have the opportunity to earn a Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers card from the American Heart Association.

Among the choices for Costa Mesa High School students is the Child Development pathway, which includes a Careers With Children Internship that not only allows for high school and college credit, but also gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with children attending NMUSD preschools

Newport Harbor culinaryFor Newport Harbor High School students enrolled in the award-winning Food Service and Hospitality pathway, Orange Coast College’s Culinary Arts classes earn them dual enrollment credits while working in a restaurant-grade kitchen with professional tools.

Other college courses offered to all NMUSD high school students as part of Dual Enrollment include astronomy at OCC, which allows students access to industry equipment and the planetarium, and automotive technology at Golden West College. There are also courses in business and entrepreneurship, psychology, fire science, dental assistance, nursing, and more.

Students who complete two or more college classes through dual enrollment earn a special Seal of Excellence on their high school diploma. This distinction of the rigorous educational path they took is noted on their official high school transcripts and highlighted in the commemorative program when they graduate. “It’s a very prestigious symbol of their achievement, and every little thing helps with college admittance,” said Russell. 

NMUSD also has a high school dedicated to Dual Enrollment, Early College High School (ECHS). Students at ECHS can earn one year or more in college credit while still in high school. In partnership with Coastline College, ECHS blends high school and college coursework in an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), allowing students the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. The IGETC satisfies specific college freshmen- and sophomore-level requirements so students can transfer to a University of California or California State University school as a junior, directly from high school. In 2022, 11 of ECHS’s 44 graduates had fully completed the IGETC.   

For more information about Dual Enrollment, visit our Early College Credit webpage.