Getting college credits in high school is a great way to challenge yourself academically and to potentially save college tuition in the future. However, many students don't know that it is an option until it's too late. If you are interested in gaining college credits in high school, here are five great ways to do it!
1. Advanced Placement Courses
If your school offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses, enrolling in them is a great way to gain college credits. The College Board designs the curriculum for these courses, and each one culminates in a standardized exam in the Spring. Since these courses are traditionally more challenging than typical high school classes, most colleges will accept high scores on Advanced Placement exams as college credits.
2. An International Baccalaureate Program
Enrolling in an International Baccalaureate (IB) program is another excellent way to gain college credits in high school. An IB program, administered by your school, is a holistic academic program that consists of a few different IB-level courses. Unlike APs, where you can pick and choose classes, you must take all the IB courses in order to be in the program and eligible for an IB diploma. After completing the lessons, you will take IB exams whose scores are accepted by colleges for credit.
3. College Level Examination Program
The College Board also runs The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) as another way for students to gain college credits. Unlike the AP exams, which directly correlate to a course, the CLEP covers introductory-level college material in 34 subjects, testing knowledge you may have gained from a variety of different sources. While they aren't as popular as AP exams, these tests can give you credits accepted by more than two thousand colleges and universities.
4. Dual Enrollment
Unlike taking AP or IB courses, which are still technically high school courses, dual enrollment allows you to start taking college courses as a high schooler. By enrolling in a local community college, you will take college courses that give you both high school and college credits. Since you're working toward both your high school and college diplomas at once, this strategy will provide you with great bang for your buck. You may even be able to gain an associate's degree by the time you graduate high school!
5. Summer Programs
Believe it or not, there are tons of summer programs that allow high school students to gain college credits. Many of these programs are run by colleges and universities that will enable you to study on their campus for a few weeks over summer vacation. If you're wondering where to start, try searching a local college or community college to see what summer options they offer.