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Earning College Credit in High School

High school students sure have a lot on their plates as they near the end of that epoch: there are decisions to be made about their futures, college, career paths, re-location, and the many possibilities on the road ahead, and these decisions have a lasting impact. If you’re a high school student who has decided on college as the next step, it may be a relief to know that you don’t have to wait until you’re out of high school to get a jump start on your higher education. There are a few ways you can earn college credit during high school to help ease the transition into college and bring your graduation day a bit closer.

It’s no secret that college is expensive and very hard work. As more students flock to colleges and universities than ever before, class sizes expand and in a lot of cases, college students have a hard time filling all their requirements in time for graduation due to the large student bodies and class size guidelines. To avoid being locked out of certain classes or missing the boat on courses not offered every semester, as well as to save time and money in the long run, consider a few of these options to enter college with a few credits already under your belt.

Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

Most every high school offers students a chance at AP courses, which are higher-level classes that introduce students to college-level learning. Different from Honors classes, which also teach content at a higher level than standard college-prep high school classes, AP classes grant students college credit in that department upon successful completion. To gain entry into these courses, students are typically required to pass an exam as well as receive recommendations from previous teachers and a certain grade average in previous academic years. For diligent students who have a strong academic record, have demonstrated willingness to learn and further their educations, and are excited to get a sneak peak into the rigors of college learning, AP classes are a great option to consider in high school.

College Campus Opportunities for High School Students

Outside of your high school campus, there are options from colleges and universities to begin earning credit before you start college as a freshman. The best place to start looking is at local college campuses, and state universities in particular. Many colleges offer summer courses that you can begin in your senior summer so that when you start as a freshman in the fall, you can avoid remedial or general education classes and get right into your field of interest. While summer courses may sound like a drag, the classes are typically much more casual and shorter in term – as opposed to a typical 15-16 week semester, summer classes often meet for only 3-4 weeks.

Many universities also offer summer programs in the academic arena for high school students, as sort of a summer camp for your mind. These typically require applications and exams for entrance, but can do a great deal to enrich your college applications as well as give you a stronger idea of what you’d like to study or at which school you’d like to study it. Additionally, summer programs are excellent for networking with your peers and potential mentors.

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