10th Grade

Degree Completion Plans and Your Community College

Degree Completion Plans (Sophomore)

If you’ve ever picked up a community college course catalog, it might seem overwhelming. How do you know what classes to take? How do you know those classes will transfer to a university degree program? If you are considering possibly pursuing dual enrollment, enrolling in a community college or taking an AP or CLEP test then you need to understand the degree completion plan.

What is a degree completion plan?

A degree completion plan (DCP) is exactly what its name implies: a plan for completing your degree. Each plan is specific to a major of study, e.g., Biology, Creative Writing, or Russian Literature. Every college website will have links to their specific programs of study and typically, a corresponding DCP for that program. The DCP lists all the classes you need to take in order to graduate with that degree.

How do I use a DCP?

Because the DCP lists all the classes a student needs to graduate, homeschool parents can use it to determine which classes can be completed during high school using dual enrollment (at your community college or online) and/or CLEP tests and AP classes. The DCP will list all the general education requirements (usually 100-200 or 1000-2000 level classes) which are the ones you will choose from for dual credit or CLEP testing. Third and fourth level classes must generally be taken on-site at the university or through their online program, if they have one.

The DCP provides a tangible way to track a student’s progress beyond a transcript. By following the DCP and staying in communication with the school, you can in some instances achieve as many as 60 credits (half a standard Bachelor’s degree program!) while still in high school. This saves an incredible amount of time and money!

Complications with DCPs.

While degree completion plans are indeed good news, they are subject to change as universities adjust their program structure. If you print a DCP off a university website in your student’s 10th-grade year, that same DCP may have different classes by the time he’s a senior. It’s important to stay in communication with the college’s admissions office to guarantee that the classes you are taking will indeed transfer to that school.

Be aware that while many community colleges have Guaranteed Admission Agreements (GAA) with state and private universities, guaranteeing the transfer of general education credits, not all of those credits will fulfill program requirements. What this means is that math class your student took might transfer in as an elective, and he’d still have to take math when he got to the university! Since no one wants to take math twice, be sure to check the college website each year to make sure the DCP hasn’t changed, and that transfer policies (number of credits allowed to transfer in) haven’t changed either.

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