Welcome to Advising 101. In this series, I’ll highlight a key concept that will help YOU become your teen’s best high school guidance counselor. For Homeschooling for College Credit parents, this series will help you navigate resourceful high school planning with skill and confidence.
What is it?
Simply put, the word “matriculation” means your teen has officially and formally enrolled in a college as a degree-eligible degree-seeking student. Matriculation doesn’t happen until your teen has signed enrollment paperwork and paid money.
Why is it important?
Technically speaking, a high school student is a “non-matriculated” student. Some colleges may classify your student as “non-degree seeking” to distinguish them from the matriculated students. EVEN IF your teen plans to earn a degree or eventually does earn a degree, high school students are separated from matriculated students.
In the United States, accredited colleges and universities require students to have a high school diploma or equivalency (GED, HiSET, etc.) prior to matriculation. In cases where a student doesn’t yet have a diploma or equivalency, the college is making an exception – they are allowing enrollment without matriculation. Dual enrollment (aka concurrent enrollment, dual credit, etc.) is an example of circumventing the normal admissions requirements and allowing your teen the privilege of participating ahead of completing their diploma or equivalency.
FUN FACT: this is why high school students who take dual enrollment courses will still apply as a freshman, not a transfer student.
Next time you visit a college’s website, look carefully at their dual enrollment program. Often you’ll observe a separate admissions process, tuition structure, and enrollment requirements. Colleges with good dual enrollment programs usually have dedicated advisors that will help teens taking classes in this special category. As a HS4CC parent, you should be aware that if your teen continue at a college that they started in high school, it is not unusual to get a new advisor and fill out additional paperwork. That is all part of the matriculation process.
- Non-matriculated students (high school students) are not eligible for financial aid. This is why dual enrollment teens do not fill out FAFSA.
- Non-matriculated students (high school students) will apply to college as a first-time incoming freshman no matter how many college credits they earned in high school.
Who can help me?
The college admissions department. Once your teen applies to the college (as a first-time incoming freshman) they must be accepted and then choose to enroll before becoming a matriculated student.