A wonderful way to be ahead of the curve entering college is to enter with college credit. Once you become a college student, beginning your career with previous college credits can allow you to be exempt from taking certain classes. It will also make financial sense as it will save you from having to pay for courses that you can simply get out of the way during high school. And nothing beats saving money while being exempt from college classes that you’re required to take!
Depending on your high school, in order to gain college credits, there are a couple of options that your school may give you. Although these options are quite different from one another, they do offer some common benefits.
Advanced Placement (AP):
A way in which you can earn advanced placement is by taking these AP courses in high school. Not only will they give you an opportunity to earn college credit, but they will also better prepare you for college altogether.
For instance, if you take Introduction to Psychology while in high school, you should not have to take it again in college. Why would you take the same class twice? In order to become exempt from such a course in college, you would have to take the AP exam at the end of the year, which tests you over everything that you have learned throughout this course.
The AP exam is done through College Board, who are the same people that administer the SAT. AP is offered in many different subjects. If you score high enough, whichever college you attend will decide whether or not to award you with college credit for completing the course and scoring high enough on the AP exam. If your school does not do AP, they may do IB which is essentially the same. You will have to check with your counselor to see which one your school offers.
Dual enrollment is a program that if offered by a nearby college which forms a partnership between your high school and that college. This college partnership will offer specific classes at your high school. These classes will cost a small fee to take, as it is treated just like a college course.
Usually a professor from that college will also be teaching the course. For having completed and passing the course, you can be awarded college credit. Taking these classes are a wonderful way to not only knock out some college credits, but to also get a feel for what your classes in college will be like.
Dual enrollment differs from AP in that there is no required standardized exam, except for the exams that are offered throughout the course. Sure, this sounds great, but just remember, this is a formal college course! During one semester, most college courses have only two to four exams, with a final exam at the end of the semester. Depending on the course, they may throw in a research paper and/or project as well. All of this together will determine your grade in this course.
You may decide explore one or even both of these options. Either one will help you out in the longrun.