Earning college credit in high school can save time and money.
But not all college credit is created equal. Get the facts and set up a successful strategy for your student.
Amanda Grow, with College Fast Lane, says high school students should earn credits with the “end in mind”.
Understand Your Options
· Advanced Placement (AP) classes are taught by high school teachers who work to train students to pass AP subject tests given at the end of the school year. The grades a student receives in the class affect only their high school transcript. If the student passes the test at the end of the year, they receive college credit for their efforts. If they do not pass the test, they do not receive college credit.
Because AP credit is the oldest and most familiar form of college credit earned in high school, it is widely recognized by both private and public schools. Keep in mind that earning the actual college credit is dependent on a student’s performance on a single test given at the end of the school year. Students with severe test anxiety may want to consider other options for earning credit.
· Concurrent Enrollment (CE) classes are taught by high school teachers who have been certified by a local university to teach particular college courses. All of the assigned work and exams through the course of the class will impact the student’s final grade, which will show up on both their high school AND college transcripts. If they receive a passing grade in the class, they receive college credit.
CE credits work best when applied to the university that sponsors the class. This will most likely be a college that is geographically close to the high school. For example, high schools in the Davis and Weber counties do most of their concurrent enrollment through Weber State University. Students who plan to attend Weber State University will have no trouble having these credits count toward specific classes. Students who plan to go to other schools may have a little more trouble because the credits must be transferred from one college to another. Check with the university your student plans to attend for their specific policies on accepting concurrent enrollment classes from other colleges.
· International Baccalaureate (IB) classes function much like AP classes in that students train throughout the year to pass a test given at the end of the class. Students who pass a certain number of IB tests receive an IB high school diploma. Schools must be IB authorized to offer these classes.
In most cases, IB credits are recognized like AP credits. Because the IB program began in Europe and has been in the United States for only a limited number of years, parents and students should check with their future university to ensure recognition of IB credits before pursuing the IB program.
· Early College is an option for students who desire to begin pursuing their degrees by attending classes on actual college campuses before their peers have graduated from high school. The Utah Centennial Scholarship makes it possible for students to attend universities within the state without having to pay full price tuition.
Earn with the End in Mind
Every university and every department within each university has its own policy for how credit earned in high school will be counted. The best way to ensure your student is making the best possible class choices is to earn credits with the end in mind. Students should familiarize themselves with the general education requirements as well as the specific policies of the university they plan to attend. Understanding how credits are counted at your student’s future university will help you understand how to structure their class schedule in high school.
Fulfill General Education Requirements
AP, CE, and IB credit will all earn your student some kind of “credit.” But the best kinds of “credits” are the ones that will get your student out of specific classes. For example, an AP US History class will most likely get your student out of their “American Institutions” general education required class in college. The AP US Government and Politics class will do the same trick, and so the credits earned in that class will be counted as “elective” credit. Where possible, diversify the general education subject categories of the classes your student takes for college credit. This will allow them to fulfill more general education requirements and ultimately have more entry-level classes “out of the way” when they begin college.
Use High School Time to Decide What to Study in College
Earning college credit in high school allows a student, in many cases, to jump right into major courses when they begin college. It is therefore important that a student has put serious time and thought into what they would like to study. Traditionally, students put little thought into this major decision before beginning college because they can “work on their generals” while deciding what they’d like to go into and what major they’d like to pursue. Putting time and effort into this decision while still in high school will potentially save the student tens of thousands of dollars.
“Strategies for Earning College Credit in High School”
Baer Canyon High School Group Meeting Room (inside the Kaysville Sportsplex building)
1188 Sportsplex Drive, Kaysville, Utah.
Saturday, April 23
Amanda Clark Grow is the founder of College Fast Lane. For more information on how to help your student prepare for college go to www.collegefastlane.com