Whether you are eager to begin your college career or are looking for a challenge outside your regular high school classes, you may be asking yourself if you can take college classes while in high school. Well, we have some good news for you: you absolutely can take college courses while you’re still in high school! Here are a few things you need to know before you get started.
Get some second opinions
Maybe you’re a straight-A student or an overachiever who loves to take on academic challenges. Or maybe you just like the idea of getting a jump-start on the credits you’ll need. Whatever the case, you should get some opinions from those who know you best before you start exploring your options.
Start with your guidance counselor. These professionals are trained to know local college options, along with classes open to you. If they’ve been around long enough, they’ll also know if the classes are appropriate for you to take and if you’ve met the necessary pre-requirements.
You may also want to talk to your most trusted high school teacher, especially if he or she teaches the subject in which you want to take classes. They can give you an honest opinion on if they think you’re really ready to take on a college class, especially if you are already busy with regular classes and clubs.
Know your options
Many high schools work with community colleges to provide top performing students with access to college classes as part of the normal curriculum. This may mean travel to college campuses or having a professor travel to you. You’ll most likely get both college credits and high school credits in one!
Your second option is to go straight to the source — the college itself! Community colleges are your best and more affordable options. They cater to non-traditional students and often have programs or beginning college courses geared towards those who haven’t completed high school yet.
Here’s where your high school guidance counselor comes in handy again. They will show you how to apply, find, and register for classes (or will point you to the person that can). If you’re going for a four-year school, you may also want to check in with them so they can speak to a college admissions counselor or advisor on your behalf.
Don’t get discouraged
Let’s say you’re not exactly ready to begin college early or there aren’t any options for high school students in your area. Don’t worry! You can still get the college experience! For one, you can take AP (Advanced Placement) courses. If you pass the AP class, you can receive college credit or opt out of some classes when you get to college. It’s the best of both worlds!
You can also look into online college courses offered through programs like Coursera, Khan Academy, or through colleges like Harvard. The best part of this is that these classes are often free or inexpensive. You’ll get prepared for college classes and learn, be challenged, and learn a new lesson!
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