You can improve your chances of graduating on time and may even save money on college costs if you earn college credits early. There are several ways to do this. These include testing out of college classes and taking college-level classes while in high school.
Taking college-level classes can help you graduate from college on time or early.
Ways to Get College Credit Early
Below are some options for earning credit before starting college.
Take AP Courses and Exams
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) offers college-level study in a wide range of subjects and allows you to earn college credit if you score high enough on AP Exams. AP courses stress deep learning, critical thinking and the application of knowledge.
Take CLEP Exams
The College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), accepted by over 2,900 colleges and universities, lets you earn college credit for the knowledge that you have already acquired. By passing any of the 33 CLEP exams, you can earn 3 to 12 credits toward your college degree and move to more advanced courses. The amount of credit you earn depends on the exam subject and the policy at the college you attend.
Participate in the IB Program
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers college-level courses that provide students with an in-depth, culturally diverse, global education. Certain colleges offer credit to students who earn high enough scores on IB exams or who complete the IB diploma program.
Take College Classes While in High School
Some high school students start their college studies while still in high school by taking day, evening or weekend classes at a local college. The rules for who can go and who pays the tuition are different in every state.
Benefits of College-Level Study in High School
Taking college-level classes in high school can introduce you to new academic passions and the excitement of exploring interesting subjects in depth. It can also help you:
- Learn the time-management skills, study skills and discipline you’ll need in college.
- Improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice.
- Improve your chances of qualifying for scholarships.
- Free up enough time in college for you to take part in programs like study abroad or to double major.
- Graduate from college on time or early, which will save you money.
Your Next Move
Talk to your school counselor, principal or teachers to find out which options for earning college credit may work for you. And make sure that the colleges you want to attend will accept your credits.
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