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A college education provides you with a great way to develop new skills and gain new knowledge that can help you build a career. When you are a high school student, you do not have to wait until after graduation to start earning college credits. High school students can earn college credits in many ways. Learning more about how to do so can help you get a head start on your college education.

What Are College Credit Hours in High School?

College credit hours are credits that high school students can potentially earn before starting college. These credit hours could then be applied toward a degree or certificate program in college. High school students earn these credits by taking college-level courses online, on a college campus, or at their high school. The number of college credit hours that high school students earn can vary depending on the programs they take, among other factors.

Benefits of Earning College Credits in High School

Taking college courses for high school students can provide you with important benefits. Knowing more about a few of these advantages can help you understand why earning college credits in high school is so important.

Jumpstart Your College Career

Earning college credits in high school means you have a chance to get your college career started ahead of time. Rather than waiting until after your graduation, you can begin taking college-level classes during high school. Doing this gives you a head start on your college career, which can help you earn your college degree or certificate earlier than usual.

Discover Area-of-Study Options

You might not know what area of study you are interested in as a high school student. Taking college classes during high school gives you a chance to learn more about different areas of study. This can help you discover new interests or decide which area of study you want to focus on when you go to college. Knowing what you want to study before starting college can make it easier to declare a major and choose a degree program. You might even have a better idea of what kind of career you want to build.

Reduce Overall Tuition Costs

Taking college classes in high school can lead to reduced tuition, saving you time and money as a college student. Tuition reductions bring down the overall cost of college. Many programs that allow high school students to earn college credits also offer reductions on tuition, making these classes more affordable. These reductions and the shorter timeframe for earning a degree or certificate could result in significant cost savings for your college education.

How to Earn College Credits in High School

How do you go about earning college credits when you are still in high school? Several programs provide a way for high school students to take college-level classes that count as college credits. Explore the options your high school and local colleges have available in order to determine how you can earn college credits early. The following are some of the different programs that give students a chance to take college credits during high school:

1. Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) courses provide instruction that can help prepare you for taking AP tests in English language composition, math, history, science, and other subjects. When you take and pass AP tests, this counts as earning college credits that you can apply toward a degree or certificate program in college. The minimum score that you need to receive on these tests to earn college credits varies from school to school. Some colleges require a minimum score of 3, while others might require a 4 or 5 for college credit.

2. IBPrograms

International Baccalaureate (IB) programs provide high school students with the opportunity to earn an IB diploma after successfully completing IB courses and passing IB tests. These programs take roughly two years to complete and cover six disciplines, including science, math, and the arts. IB tests use a 1 through 7 scoring scale with the test scores determining the number of college credits high school students receive. Keep in mind that this can vary from school to school.

3. College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams

CLEP exams provide a way for high school students with strong study skills to earn college credits. Unlike AP tests and IB programs, students do not take courses that prepare them for CLEP exams. Instead, students are expected to study and prepare on their own. CLEP exams are available for more than 30 different areas or subjects, including history, business, science, literature, math, and world languages. The number of credits that colleges award students with can vary based on test scores. Keep in mind that different schools accept different CLEP exams. While some schools accept most of these exams, some might only accept exams in subjects that are relevant to the areas of study the school offers. Make sure to reach out to your school of choice to determine what is accepted.

4. Dual Enrollment

Dual Enrollment offers a way for students to gain college experience while still in high school. With dual enrollment students take college classes at or in partnership with a college or university. Students do this to explore future interests now, take courses not offered at their school, and earn credits/fulfill graduation requirements early. Students interested in dual enrollment programming will want to ask about transferability of credits earned.

5. Post’s High School Academy

Post University offers college-level classes that you can take as a high school student. Our dual enrollment program, High School Academy, offers interested students a few different ways to participate and earn college credits, including an eight-week program with accelerated online classes. High School Academy can also offer 16-week semester classes at Post’s Waterbury campus and a 16-week program taught by Post-approved instructors at your high school.

When you earn college credits through HSA, you can apply these to a Post University degree or certificate program, allowing you to earn your college degree or certificate in a shorter amount of time. You will also have access to resources at Post University during your HSA program, including 24/7 tutoring, student events, academic advising, and more.

To learn more about our High School Academy, please contact Post University today. We can give you more information on the classes we offer through this program and answer any other questions you have about it.

Thank you for reading! If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!