Earning college credit during high school may be an attractive option to students who are interested in getting a head start on their collegiate studies, saving money, and having access to a wider variety of challenging coursework. Some options for how to earn college credit while in high school are explored below.
Advanced Placement Courses
One of the most common ways of earning college credit during high school is by enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Advanced Placement are classes designed by the College Board intended to mimic the challenge and rigor of college-level courses. They are offered in over 30 different subject areas like music theory, human geography, world history, calculus, French, and statistics, to name a few options.
These courses are offered by many high schools all over the country, though some schools may offer a more extensive number of options than others. The curriculum of these courses follows a standardized national format because the purpose is to prepare students to take the corresponding AP exam at the end of the school year. Depending on the score that students earn on this exam, they may be eligible to earn college credit. Students with high enough scores are often able to earn credit for some of the core curriculum introductory courses required by many colleges, like literature or American history. Keep in mind, however, that not all colleges and universities accept AP courses as college credit, so students are advised to check the policies of the colleges that they are interested in to make sure earning this credit is possible.
Getting a high enough score on the AP exams is key to being able to earn college credit. Study.com offers a number of online courses that are intended to help students prepare for AP exams. A few of these are listed in the following:
A number of high schools around the country have partnerships with local colleges and universities that allow students the option of simultaneously earning high school and college credit by taking one course. This may be an attractive choice for students who are interested in completing as many of the entry-level college classes as possible while still in high school, as these programs are often highly discounted or even tuition-free for qualifying students. This option may also allow students the ability to select from a larger catalog of courses than their high school alone may offer, enabling them to take classes in subjects that are more relevant to future career plans. In addition to standard academic courses, some dual enrollment programs may allow students to take vocational or technical classes as well. These programs may only be open to high school juniors and seniors who have met a certain GPA standard or earned a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT.
College-Level Examination Program
Another way students may be able to earn college credit is through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), which is also offered by the College Board. This program is designed to reward students who feel they are already proficient in an area that they may otherwise be required to take a course in during their first years of college. Instead of having to complete a course, students can sign up to take the corresponding CLEP test; if they perform well enough, they can earn the credit without having to spend a semester on the class. High school students interested in this option can research area colleges and universities in order to find out when they can take such a test and what options are available to them.
To help ensure that they will pass the CLEP test, students can find preparatory classes through Study.com. There are a variety of options including:
Students may also earn college credit while enrolled in high school by taking courses online from various educational organizations. This option is likely appealing to many students, as it is accessible from all over the country regardless of what options a student has available at their local high school. It is important that students make sure the online courses they choose to enroll in are properly accredited in order to be eligible for college credit. Additionally, as with the other options, students will need to check with the colleges and universities they plan to attend to make sure that these credits will be accepted.