CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Del Mar College's Dean of Student Outreach and Enrollment Services Gracie Martinez says college-level courses are available for high school students to take while still in high school.
"Dual credit courses are courses that you take in conjunction while you're in high school," said Martinez.
By the time they walk across the stage to get their high school diploma, some will already have the 60 credit hours necessary to earn their Associate's degree. In other words, they will have already completed their first two years of their college core curriculum.
So what are these dual credit classes that we're talking about? Martinez mentions English, history, government and social sciences, among others.
Martinez adds that students should speak with their counselors and confirm which classes will transfer to the four-year college or university you plan to attend. And like with taking any class for credit, getting a good grade is paramount.
"You also want to do well," Martinez says. "I think that's the most important thing is you really need to do well in the courses that you're taking because once you have your grade, it stays. It's part of your permanent transcript."
Action 10 News spoke with four students who attend local high schools and are also taking dual credit classes, requiring them to spend part of their time on Del Mar's campus.
Ayden Garcia is planning for a career in the medical field. Dual credit classes made perfect sense to him.
"For me, it was kind of like the selling point for me because the person who told me also told me that I could also get it before I get my high school diploma," Garcia said.
Diamella Marquez is from Venezuela. She plans to go into business.
"So whenever I know exactly what I wanna do, now I know that's business, I could just get my basics out of the way, and then whenever I go to a national university, I just do my business classes, and all my scholarship, I don't waste it on basics," Marquez said.
The common theme among the students was that the money saved taking dual credit classes now can be better applied to completing the last two years of their four-year degree.
"It's all about the money for me," said Fischer Powell, who'll be a senior at Calallen High School in the fall. "The less time I spend physically at college, the less money I'm paying. So when I start off and get all of my basics done here in high school, I'm not paying for any campus amenities."
Students can begin taking dual credit classes as early as their freshman year of high school, and how many classes you take is up to you.
"I definitely recommend it," said Diamella Marquez, who plans to be a chemical engineer. "It prepares you essentially. You get an idea of what life will be like."
The cost is $99.99 for a three-hour course. Some school districts will pay for some classes. The student pays the rest. Dual credit classes are offered by most Texas public school districts .