Have you started to think about college? Perhaps you’ve done some research on college costs. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities and $34,740 at private colleges. Room and board as well as other essentials can add $12,000 or more per school year.
Additionally, in a recent study, the National Center for Education Statistics reported six years as the average graduation rate for first-time undergraduates. So that total figure? It gets even higher!
As a high school student, you should consider taking college credits early. It’s a great way to save money and put yourself on a fast track to graduating faster. High school students who participate in early college programs can earn at least 21.6 college credits by the time they graduate. There are many ways to earn college credits early. Here are some to consider:
1. Advanced Placement Courses
Most high school programs permit students to take advanced placement (AP) courses in their junior and senior year–some earlier, but students don’t have to enroll in an AP class in order to sit for an AP exam. They can learn and study the material on their own prior to taking the exam.
There are thirty-eight AP courses available that count for college credit.
- Arts (Including art history, music theory, design and drawing)
- English (English literature and composition)
- History / Social Science (including Politics, History, Geography, Economics, Psychology and US Government)
- Math and Computer Science (including Calculus, Computer Science and Statistics)
- Sciences (including Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics)
- World Languages and Cultures (including French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Latin and German)
Students must test into the courses through AP examinations. AP exams are held every May and are scored on a scale from 1–5. If your college offers AP credit, a score of 3 or higher could allow you to earn college credits without paying college tuition. Some students skip the entire first year of college this way!
Have a college in mind when you test. As an added benefit, the college board automatically submits exam scores to a college you list on your forms.
2. Dual Enrollment Programs (Taking College Courses in High School)
Dual-enrollment classes enable high school students to take classes at a local college that count towards both high school credit and their undergraduate degree.
Rules and associated college fees for dual enrollment vary from state to state, so students should check with their school board to make sure that they qualify, and determine the costs of dual enrollment.
Through dual-enrollment, students can earn college credits that are nationally accredited. These credits can be transferred to any partnering University or college.
3. Alternative Credit Programs
Alternative credit programs, like Ed4Credit, offer courses approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) to have college credit recommendation.
These courses are a low-cost way to get your credits and transfer them to over 2,000 colleges nationwide. These online courses can be started at any time and are self-paced. If you have the time or know the topic you can move quickly through alternative credit courses.
Transferring your credits is easy! Upon successfully finishing your course, simply select the courses you’ve completed, choose the appropriate educational institution and ACE will send them your transcript.
4. Take the CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
The College Level Examination Program was created to help adults with prior knowledge in a subject earn college credits inexpensively by offering testing and potential college credit for what they already know. They can be a great option for high school students as well!
CLEP exams cover intro-level college course material in 33 different subjects. Qualifying scores earn the same amount of credit as a regular college course. A passing score on one CLEP exam could earn you three or more college credits at more than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities.
5. International Baccalaureate Program (IB)
Through the IB Diploma Program, students 16-19 years old receive college credits based on their final examination scores in each IB course. Students study six core subjects in the program–Language and Literature, Sciences, Math, Art, Individuals and Society, and language acquisition.
Through the Diploma Program (DP) core, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research and undertake a project that often involves community service.
International Baccalaureate houses more than 4,000 schools who educate about one million students. Aside from college credit, some of the program’s benefits include:
- Support to think freely and manage the way you learn
- Introduction to and development of a second language
- Intercultural understanding of the global world
Upon completion of each course, students participate in assessments–internal and external.
Internal assessments measure oral and fieldwork in language and geography, lab work and investigations in science and mathematics, and artistic presentation.
External assessments are done through tests. Students complete essays, response questions, and multiple-choice questions.
The IB Diploma program remits transcripts to six Universities/Colleges on behalf of each student free of charge.
6. Explore Summer Study Options
Pre-college summer programs are offered by some colleges. This is a time for soon-to-be college freshman to experience taking courses on campus and experience college life during the summer. Summer college programs can last up to ten weeks and allow students to earn early college credits.
During the summer program, students have access to the same courses offered to college freshman. As many as 6 college credits can be earned. And because summer classes are small, students reap the benefits of learning college-level work in almost the same setting as high school classes.
Summer is also great time to take college courses online. Students can pick from a wide variety of courses and study at their own pace. It’s a great way to get a jump start on general education requirements!
7. Technical Prep Education – Tech Prep Program
Tech Prep is a federally sponsored career development program geared towards high school students with an emphasis on career and technical education. The program consists of two years of high school and community college and incorporates career-related and academic courses that often lead to a diploma, degree or two-year apprenticeship certificate.
Consider fast-tracking your college education. Explore opportunities to earn credit towards your college degree today! The benefits of doing so can include exposure to academically challenging courses that might not otherwise be offered as a part of your high school curriculum, saving money on college expenses, and earning your diploma faster.
Ed4Credit’s courses have gone through rigorous examination and have earned approval from the American Council on Education’s (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®). ACE has recommended Ed4Credit to provide transferable credit to selected colleges. With that in mind, you can stop worrying about transferring your credits. We make the process fast and simple!
Kris Powers is social media relations director for Ed4Online’s multiple divisions, including Ed4Credit, Ed4Career and Ed4Training. Kris believes that knowledge affects change and change leads to growth. This is the belief behind her motivation to help learners everywhere gain access to quality education and training. Kris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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