Capilano University: Dual-credit courses help transition to post-secondary

The landscape of post-secondary institutions continues to shift and transition as we understand the desires of a new generation of students. These students bring with them similar aspirations for personal growth and development, but with increasing pressures to gain an education that provides a path to a profession. Programming and support services in universities across Canada are changing based on this emerging information. An example of one such type of programming is the dual-credit initiative. 

Dual credit is widely used in B.C. to allow high-achieving, career-oriented, and at-risk students to gain credit towards post-secondary credentials while they are still in high school. Specifically, a student in high school can receive credit for their regular courses, while taking a university program or course and also receive credit at the post-secondary level. Studies have shown that students who have taken a dual credit course in high school are better able to transition to university and ultimately have more success as a student. As the school district funds tuition, families see added financial benefits. 

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High school students on the Sunshine Coast have been engaged in dual credit options for many years in the field of trades, and as a result, many have been very successful in their transitions to post-secondary trade programs. 

In 2016, the kálax-ay Sunshine Coast Campus at Capilano University and School District No. 46 embarked on a dual credit English 100 course with Elphinstone Secondary students. Sixteen university-bound students took the course and were taught by a Capilano University instructor along with the English 12 instructor. The course has run every year since then and increased its numbers each year. 

This January, there will be 52 Grade 12 students taking an English 100 course both at Elphinstone and Chatelech Secondary. The excitement around this initiative has caught on and students in the lower grades are now eager to be a part of it as they move to their senior high school years. 

There are plans in place to look at other dual credit options for students including lower level arts and sciences and business courses. In addition, the partnership between the school district and kálax-ay Sunshine Coast Campus is a model that will inform programming at the North Vancouver campus. 

In the meantime, on behalf of the employees at Capilano University, we welcome the new high school students this year, and we are proud to take part in their continued educational journey.

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