5 Ways to Earn College Credit During High School
Did you know you can get a jump-start on earning college credit while you’re in high school? Earning college credit in high school not only puts you ahead academically at college, it also can help reduce college tuition expenses or even reduce the time it takes you to graduate from college. Earning college credit in high school also can help impress college admission officers by showing them that you’re serious about earning a degree.
Here are five ways to earn college credit during high school:
Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
If you take AP classes in your junior or senior year of high school, ask your teacher or guidance counselor about taking the advanced placement test for the subject area. Colleges will determine how many credits the AP exam counts for based on the score you earn on the exam. Taking an AP exam requires a fee, typically about $89.
International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.
High schools can become IB schools if they offer a certain rigorous curriculum for students. To see if your school is one of the more than 3,600 schools worldwide that offers the IB curriculum, check the International Baccalaureate website or contact your high school guidance office. Colleges may offer credit depending on scores of the final assessment exams for IB courses.
Colleges in high schools.
Some colleges partner with local high schools to create college-level courses students can take at high school. The courses often count towards both high school and college credit. Sometimes these cost a small fee, but the fee is usually much less than regular tuition rates at colleges and universities. Check with your high school guidance office for information about your school’s partnerships with local colleges.
Postsecondary enrollment at local colleges.
Some colleges allow high school students to take courses at the college. Cost depends on the college and state programs. For example, in Minnesota, high school students may be able to take some college courses for free during high school. In Washington, low-income, first-generation college students may qualify to take college courses that count for high school credit and for up to two years of college credit for free via its Early College program. In Wisconsin, a statewide Youth Options program allows students to take approved college courses during high school.
Proficiency (aka equivalency) exams.
Some colleges allow freshmen to “test out” of certain entry-level courses. Ask the college admission officer what test-out opportunities are available and which ones you may qualify to take based on your GPA or ACT or SAT scores. If you are eligible to take a proficiency exam, find out when the exam is offered so you can sign up.
Before you try any of these ways to earn college credit, check with the colleges you want to attend to make sure they will accept the credit. You’ll also want to confirm if the credit will actually help fulfill degree requirements for the college major you plan to study. Additionally, plan ahead since some colleges in schools and postsecondary enrollment programs have varying application and enrollment processes and deadlines.