Best of Both Worlds: Dual Admission Program To Launch This Fall
Beginning this fall, the transition to a four-year university will be easier than ever for students enrolling at New Hampshire’s community colleges. Students can take advantage of a new educational pathway that allows students to enroll as one of New Hampshire’s seven community colleges and be admitted into the University System of New Hampshire at the same time.
How will it work? Look no farther than a similar program already in place for Great Bay Community College students looking to transition to UNH this year.
“The fact that the community colleges and four-year institutions have come together and ironed out all the details ahead of time means there won’t be any surprises for the student,” says Deanna Freidman, director of advising at Great Bay Community College. “They will know exactly what they have to do to achieve their end goal of a bachelor’s degree.”
Community college students in the Dual Admission Program can earn credits that apply to both their associate and bachelor’s degrees. Those with a 2.5 grade-point average or higher, are in good standing and complete their associate degree are guaranteed entry into a University System of New Hampshire institution (University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State, Keene State or Granite State). However, it is important for students to work with an academic advisor as they plan their courses. Only those courses in which students earn C or better will transfer.
The Dual Admission Program offers a variety of academic, economic and social benefits. Students pay only one application fee, have access to specialized academic advising, are eligible for merit-based scholarships and are guaranteed university housing. They also save money on tuition and courses.
“It’s incredibly significant,” Freidman says. “As long follow a plan, students can move forward on this pathway without wasting time or money on course that won’t transfer. We have it all outlined in this program. It’s a way for students to achieve their educational goals, save money and, ultimately, earn a degree from that four-year school but with less student loan debt.”
The pilot program established last fall by GBCC and the UNH attracted 35 students. Gates McPherson, one of the first students in the program, said the financial benefits played a role in her decision. “I was able to really decide what to do without spending so much money,” she said.
In addition, students have the opportunity to experience a preview of life at a four-year university while they are still studying at their community college by taking advantage of activities at two colleges that may include academic, athletic, cultural and social events throughout the year. For example, those in GBCC’s program were invited to a dinner and a hockey game at UNH last winter.
“Our goal is to connect the community college students to the university,” says Sharon Gibadlo, admissions counselor at UNH. “We want them to feel like they are already part of our community.”
McPherson has taken advantage of the program by regularly visiting the UNH campus. “When she goes there and walks the campus, she already feels a part of it,” Freidman says.
Enrolling in the Dual Admission Program is easy and it all starts at DualNH.com. Students select the community college they are interested in attending (Great Bay, Lake Regional, Nashua, NHTI, Manchester, River Valley or White Mountains) and will be taken to that college’s website. When ready to apply, students simply indicate on their community college application that they would like to enroll in the Dual Admission Program and select their university choice. Upon acceptance into the community college and the completion of placement testing, students meet with a community college advisor and sign a Dual Admission Program contract that outlines the program requirements.
“With this program students know that if they start out at a community college in New Hampshire they will be able to seamlessly transition into the university system,” Freidman says. “It’s a very smooth process and the student feels connected to the university from the beginning.”