One small detail about going to college as a freshman means you have to remain a freshman until you begin at the University. Taking college classes within the context of dual enrollment is fine. When college classes are counted toward high school courses, then they are counted as high school courses, and the student is still considered a freshman in terms of the university admission. In senior year, you can take college classes that are placed on the high school transcript.
Here is the big problem: the moment the student graduates high school, all community college classes are no longer considered high school classes. That means if you take even one single credit during the summer after senior year it can cancel your freshman application. One single course taken during the summer may mean you are a transfer admission instead, and not eligible for freshman scholarships. So taking community college courses while you are in high school is not a problem. Taking ANY community college courses after you graduate high school, during the summer before going to the university, can be a BIG problem and it can eliminate the freshman scholarships.
It's a good idea to contact the university you are applying to - well in advance, if possible. Each university can set their own policy about these kinds of things, so it can vary widely across states and counties and colleges. Because dual enrollment for public school students is not usually offered during the summer, they may assume that ANY summer classes at a community college aren't dual enrollment. You want to make sure to check on that. There are some universities that are dissatisfied with the academics of community college classes. For that reason, some universities don't accept community college courses for credit, and those classes will count just like any other high school level course. With policies varying widely, it's important to check.
Although I haven't done research on the NCAA, I have heard people say that dual enrollment courses can affect your ability to play NCAA sports, so that is also something worth checking.
These scholarships usually come from the university, and they make the decisions about the admission status of each student. I'm not sure if federal grants are tied to community college courses, or if they are distributed based on how the university determines your status.
For some families and in some situations, it will make sense to take summer course at the community college and delay admission into a university. While it's true that the student will not receive freshman admission scholarships, community college courses are so inexpensive the strategy can still save a family money. University freshman do receive additional scholarships, but that is not the only financial consideration.
I hope that helps! Remember that in Washington State, dual enrollment in community college is funded by the State of Washington, and is called Running Start. Colleges refer to it as "dual enrollment" and it is common across the country.
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