Transitioning beyond high school can seem complicated, but with specific resources getting a headstart on college is possible. Here are four ways you can approach earning college credit before you ever step foot in your first lecture hall:
1) Take AP classes in high school
Advanced Placement (AP) classes are designed by The College Board and implemented in high schools across the country which allow students to take college-level courses without the college price tag. Students who take AP courses can take subject exams that could qualify them for placement in upper-division courses in college, or college credit. However, if your school doesn’t offer college courses, online high schools generally do. Be sure to do your best with these courses, as they can be touch and accelerated – read up on some tips we have on better ways to study.
2) Consider an online high school
Admit it, and you already spend a lot of time scrolling through your feed. Why not consider spending some of that screen time earning a high school diploma online? Like other programs that give you a leg-up on your way to college, online high schools can be a worthwhile investment towards your future. In addition to earning dual credit, online high schools also tend to offer flexible schedules, and some are even affiliated with existing colleges. Whether you want to zoom through or take your time, the choice is yours with online high schools.
3) Enroll in community college courses
Community colleges can have a bad rep, but they are actually useful resources to high school students. Many community colleges offer semester-long courses to high school students looking to get ahead. When courses during the semester are not offered, there are often summer options that likewise count towards college credit. Though costs are involved, the U.S. Department of Education recently rolled out a plan that would help provide some financial aid assistance to students seeking dual enrollment, making prices more affordable.
4) Take your college’s placement tests
English 101 and Math 98 are just a few of the introductory courses you may have to take during your freshman year of college. However, you can often opt to take a placement test in any of these subjects to skip ahead to upper-division coursework, or claim the general credits. These tests will determine whether your existing knowledge of the subject meets college standards, and can be requested through advisors or individual departments depending on your college.
Regardless of the approach you use, earning college credit before or within your freshman year is doable, all it takes is knowing about your options.