Early College Programs

Dual Enrollment - What to Expect

Dual Enrollment Students

Dual Enrollment and Project ASPIRE students have access to several benefits and many student resources at USM. Students should also be aware of the expectations they are held to as Early College students and the key differences between USM Early College courses and typical high school classes. 

Dual Enrollment and Project ASPIRE students:

  • Can expect the format of their courses to be similar to that of their regular high school classes
  • Earn college credits for a fraction of the cost of a standard on-campus undergraduate course
  • Get a sense of the expected quality and rigor of college-level coursework as they consider their post-high school plans
  • May find the workload manageable and be interested in pursuing additional college courses, even if they were not initially planning to apply to college 

Dual Enrollment students are expected to:

  • Remember that the course material, expectations, and grading standards are equivalent to a college class
  • Come to class focused and prepared to fully engage with the course material
  • Take responsibility for their performance in class and completion of coursework
  • Speak with their teacher, school counselor, or another resource at their high school if they feel they are struggling in class

Enrollment Deadlines

Although Dual Enrollment courses are delivered in a high school setting and according to the school's schedule, students must adhere to certain academic deadlines as outlined in the USM Academic Calendar. Students must contact their high school counselor to add, drop, or withdraw from a Dual Enrollment course. 

Students who withdraw from a course after the Add/Drop period will receive a "W" instead of an A-F letter grade for the course on their transcript. A "W" will have no bearing on a student's grade point average (GPA). Students who do not observe the proper course withdrawal procedures will be assigned a letter grade for the course, which will be factored into their cumulative GPA. 
For more information on USM's course withdrawal policies, please visit the Office of Registration & Scheduling Services web page.

Although Dual Enrollment courses are delivered in a high school setting and according to the school's schedule, students must adhere to certain academic deadlines as outlined in the USM Academic Calendar. Students must contact their high school counselor to add, drop, or withdraw from a Dual Enrollment course.

Students should continue to utilize their high school counselor, high school academic accommodations office, and high school counseling services as primary resources if they find themselves struggling in their Dual Enrollment courses. However, USM also offers the following resources and on-campus support to Dual Enrollment students:

Student ID Card
Dual Enrollment students can obtain a USM student ID card. This card also serves as their free METRO Bus Pass, USM library card, and pass to access on-campus fitness facilities.* To obtain an ID card, students must complete a brief online registration form in which they will enter their name, USM email address, and USM student ID number. Once it has been issued, students will receive their ID card in their Dual Enrollment class.

Visit the Campus Card web page to learn more about how to use your student ID. 

Students must know their student ID number in order to obtain their USM ID card. Students can find out their seven-digit ID number by logging into MaineStreet from the USM Portal, and clicking on “Student Self-Service” in the left-hand menu. Click on “Student Center” and the ID number will appear at the top-right of the page.

*Note: Dual Enrollment students must sign a Release and Assumption of Risk Waiver before using university fitness equipment or facilities.

USM Portal
The USM portal is an online portal where Dual Enrollment students can access and log-in to various online platforms including MaineStreet, Blackboard, and University of Maine System Gmail. By logging into the portal, students are automatically logged in to several of their USM accounts. To learn more and log in to the USM Campus Portal, visit MyUSM Campus Portal.

In order to log into and use USM platforms students must first activate their account. Students will use an activation code sent to their personal email address during the first week of classes to activate their USM account, after which they can access the MyUSM Campus Portal, UMS Gmail, MaineStreet, Blackboard, and other online platforms.

Learning Commons & Tutoring Services
The Learning Commons is an open learning environment that engages students for success, while maintaining a welcoming and supportive atmosphere where students can collaborate with peers and tutors. Students not located near campus are able to access tutoring services via distance technology. Dual Enrollment students are allowed two free tutoring appointments per week per subject area.

To learn more about tutoring services at USM and schedule an in-person or online appointment, visit the Learning Commons webpage.

Students can also contact the Learning Commons directly:
Portland Learning Commons (2nd Floor, Glickman Library)
(207) 780-4228

Gorham Learning Commons (1st Floor, Bailey Hall Library)
(207) 780-5345

USM Help Desk
The Help Desk can assist students and schools with any technical question they may have. Students that need help activating an account, resetting a password, or troubleshooting a USM online platform are encouraged to contact the Help Desk by phone, (207) 780-4029, or email usm-helpdesk@maine.edu.

NetTutor is an online tutoring service that students can access 24/7. Students can get live, one-on-one help with specific homework questions and submit drafted writing assignments for feedback. As with in-person tutoring services accessed through the USM Learning Commons, NetTutor tutors will not do the work for students. They are available to help students understand how to approach certain types of homework problems and improve their academic writing practices.

Dual Enrollment students can access NetTutor through Blackboard. Students can only access Blackboard adn NetTutor services after they activate their USM account.

Dual Enrollment Teachers

Dual Enrollment teachers are encouraged to be aware of the benefits, challenges, and resources available to them through the Early College program. 

Dual Enrollment instructors work with USM Faculty Liaisons to develop Dual Enrollment course syllabi, discuss teaching strategies, and ensure consistency in rigor and content of USM Dual Enrollment courses. Dual Enrollment instructors have the opportunity to further develop their pedagogical practices through collaborative course development and assessment with the Faculty Liaison.

Dual Enrollment instructors may initially find it challenging to adapt their course lesson plan to integrate USM learning outcomes. In addition to delivering subject-area content, Dual Enrollment courses encourage students' development of essential college skills, including critical thinking, writing composition, and quantitative reasoning. During their meeting prior to the start of the course, high school teachers and faculty liaisons must ensure the course is delivered on an appropriate schedule that allows for content delivery and student introduction to and practice of these essential college-level competencies.

Dual Enrollment instructors and USM Faculty Liaisons may initially find it difficult to develop a course plan that ensures the delivery of necessary subject content, achievement of USM learning outcomes, and student development as college-level learners. Teachers and Faculty Liaisons are encouraged to design the Dual Enrollment course plan with a realistic sense of the time needed to cover subject material, as well as what kind of rigor is appropriate for students who are concurrently developing critical thinking, research, and reasoning skills. Dual Enrollment teachers and Faculty Liaisons should maintain frequent communication about all aspects of course delivery, including timeline, student performance and needs, and areas for improvement.

It is important to understand that observations and suggestions for improvement from Faculty Liaisons are not criticisms of a Dual Enrollment instructor’s abilities. Faculty Liaisons make recommendations for course adjustments with the goal of ensuring the Dual Enrollment course allows students to achieve learning outcomes that are consistent with USM curricular standards.

Faculty Liaison

Each Dual Enrollment instructor works with a USM Faculty Liaison, who assists in planning Dual Enrollment courses, communicates university and departmental curriculum changes, answers questions and shares teaching strategies with the Dual Enrollment instructor. Faculty Liaisons and Dual Enrollment instructors are expected to communicate regularly throughout the academic year about the progress of current Dual Enrollment course sections as well as plans for future courses.

Dual Enrollment instructors and Faculty Liaisons should aim to meet before the course begins to confirm the course syllabus and discuss pedagogy, common assessment, student course evaluations, and a communication plan. Throughout the year, instructors and liaisons are expected to communicate regularly via phone, email, or other distance technology. During the initial meeting, before the course begins, instructors and liaisons should identify possible dates for a Faculty Liaison site visit to the course.


Site Visits

A Faculty Liaison site visit to a Dual Enrollment course should occur once over the duration of the course. During a site visit, a Faculty Liaison observes a class session either in person or via distance technology to assess whether the course learning outcomes are being delivered with equivalent quality and rigor of a standard USM course. After the observation period, the Liaison and Dual Enrollment instructor discuss course strengths and areas for improvement, and identify strategies for developing the course in a way that enables students to achieve the learning outcomes. A site visit may also involve a review of completed student coursework by the Faculty Liaison to further inform the delivery of the course.


Getting Started

Aspiring Dual Enrollment instructors who have regular contact with a USM faculty member in their academic subject area are encouraged to reach out to their USM faculty contact regarding developing a Dual Enrollment course at their high school. High school teachers interested in establishing a Dual Enrollment partnership with USM should contact Meghan Cadwallader, Director of Educational Partnerships. Meghan can answer questions about delivering a Dual Enrollment course in a particular subject area and help connect high school teachers with the appropriate USM academic department.

For a summary of essential information for Dual Enrollment teachers, please see read the following document: Information for USM Dual Enrollment Instructors