So, You're an Overachiever! 7 Ways You Can Earn College Credits While Still in High School

Do you know there are many ways to earn college credits while you’re still in high school? Many talented students fail to take advantage of these opportunities to get a head start on their college career.

Taking advantage of college classes for high school students can save you money on tuition for your freshman year and put you on the fast track to a college degree. 

College tuition is increasing all the time, so it makes sense to earn as many credits as you can without the high price tag. Let’s take a look at 7 ways you can earn college credits while still in high school.

1. Advanced Placement Courses

Most high schools have AP programs and allow high-achieving students to take these courses in their junior and senior years. These classes are rigorous with the goal of students passing AP exams and earning college credit.

Students don’t have to take AP classes before taking an AP test. They can study and prepare for the exam on their own.

These exams take place every May. The grading scale is 1-5, and a score of 3 allows you to earn college credit without paying tuition for a college course.

Some of the many AP courses available for college credit include:

  • English literature and composition
  • History courses (Social science, US History, and Geography)
  • Languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Latin)
  • Math (Calculus, Statistics, and Computer science)
  • Sciences (Biology, Environmental science, and Chemistry) 

The College Board submits your exam scores to the colleges you list on your forms. So, have a college in mind when you take your AP exams.

2. Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment allows you to take college classes while you’re in high school. This gives you a real taste of college life before it’s time to enroll full-time. 

Many community colleges or state university branches participate in dual enrollment programs. Students can knock out a few basic college classes without the hefty price tag and gain valuable insight into the rigors of college-level courses.

Dual enrollment is a great option for high achievers who don’t mind the extra work of a heavier than usual course load. This helps build college readiness and perseverance to meet the challenges ahead. 

If you have a college in mind, check to see if they accept these types of credits. A simple internet search will determine this. Most, but not all, colleges will honor dual enrollment credits.

3. CLEP Exams

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) helps individuals with prior knowledge in a particular area earn college credit for what they know. This is a good option for adults and high school students as well.

These exams focus on entry-level course material in over thirty different subjects. If you make a qualifying score, you can earn college credits rather than taking the course.

The College Board who runs AP and SAT testing, administers CLEP exams. Over 2,900 colleges and universities accept qualifying CLEP scores for course credit.

You can prepare for a CLEP exam by studying the material on your own. The best time to do so is in your senior year or just after high school graduation.

Be sure to check the policy of the school or university of your choice before taking a CLEP exam.

4. Summer Study Programs

Many colleges allow high school students and up-and-coming freshmen to take summer classes for college credit. These programs are popular options for those wishing to get a head start on their college classes.

Many community colleges, state colleges, and online universities offer this affordable option for students. The tuition cost is a fraction of the price of a major university.

Students can take classes and shorten their freshman year and graduate earlier than they would have otherwise. Be sure to check the policy of the college you plan to attend, but most public universities accept summer course credits.

High school students who participate each summer can knock out a sizable chunk of basic college courses and save thousands in tuition costs.

5. International Baccalaureate Programs 

International Baccalaureate programs are popular in many countries and have become a growing trend in U.S. high schools in recent years. Students can earn college credit through the IB program by taking an IB course and its corresponding exam.

Some, but not all, high schools offer credit for IB tests. Others require students to take a two-year course in six disciplines to qualify. 

IB courses center around a holistic approach to education. Students must master traditional subjects but also learn a foreign language, complete a service project, and write an essay.

They must pass tests in each discipline area to earn college credit. These scores range from 1-7, with 4 as the passing score. 

Currently, over 1,700 colleges in the U.S. award credits for IB, and this trend continues to grow.

6. Technical Credits

A four-year degree is not the only path for high school graduates. There are many technical discipline options for interested students.

In high schools around the country, students can earn an associate degree in areas such as applied science, engineering technology, agriculture, health, mechanics, business, and more.

Tech-Prep programs focus on preparing students for a viable trade and post-graduate employment options. Funding for technology programs vary from state to state.

If you are interested in a technical field, these opportunities provide a low-cost path for earning college credits and a fast track to a good-paying job following graduation.

7. Mix and Match Credit Options

Depending on what your school allows and the extent of your ambitions, you may be able to participate in more than one option for early college credits. You could take AP classes, participate in summer programs, and take CLEP exams if you can handle the heavy workload.

What you’re able to accomplish or overlap also depends on your university of choice. Check to see what type of credits they will accept.

Don’t waste your time and energy completing programs or tests that aren’t transferrable for college credit. Be sure to do your research before deciding on a list of credit-building strategies.

Don’t take on more than you can handle. Being a high-achiever is awesome but remember to take some time to enjoy your high school years.

College Classes for High School Students

Taking advantage of a few opportunities to earn college credit can put you ahead of the game before you begin your college years. This can help you save money, gain valuable knowledge, and graduate ahead of schedule.

Be sure to do your research and find out which credits your college of choice will accept. So, whether it’s AP classes, dual enrollment, CLEP tests, or others, you can choose the best options for college classes for high school students.

Our goal is to help you prepare and succeed in college and on the path to a successful future. Take a look at our organization and all the benefits we offer for high-achieving students just like you. Contact us to learn more.

Source: Member Articles
So, You’re an Overachiever! 7 Ways You Can Earn College Credits While Still in High School

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