An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Would You Take College Classes While in High School?

dual enrollment courses

A recent article by Fox News explores the question of whether or not it would be a good idea to get a jumpstart on college classes by taking college classes for credit while in high school:

There are a variety of ways that students can earn credit for college, such as dual enrollment (students spend half the day at high school, the other at a college campus), direct credit (a college professor or high school teacher teaches college courses), or summer college courses that give students college credit.

High schools are also increasingly offering Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate courses (IB) to students that many colleges accept as replacements to introductory courses if they score high enough on the exam.

I enrolled in 6 AP courses during my time in high school and they mostly turned out to be well worth my time. I only passed 2 of the 6 courses, but my score of 2 on the remaining 4 courses did earn me some elective credit.

You can actually save A LOT of money by taking AP or dual enrollment courses while in high school.

Let’s assume that the average undergraduate tuition is $600 per credit hour. If you complete just one AP class in high school you can generally opt out of a 4 credit hour class. That equates to $2400 that you could save for just one class!

If you are able to take more than one AP course, or even if you make a 1 or 2 on the AP exam and receive elective credit at college, you can save even more money!

Many public schools will even pay for you to take the AP exams which will not cost you a penny. This means that you are essentially getting high school credit, college credit, and saving a lot of money at the same time.

The disadvantage of this plan is that AP classes are not easy. The extra studying and effort required to excel at these courses will likely take away from your social and extracurricular time with friends and activities. I feel very strongly that these activities are crucial to a student’s development and their future potential, so the options should be weighed carefully.

As long as the right balance has been found, AP courses and dual enrollment courses are an excellent way to earn college   credit and save some real money on college tuition costs!

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  1. Short answer – yes! I didnt do this in high school, but my sister did (I took AP classes instead). our school district had a program where you could take a few college classes a semester and they would pay for them, all you would have to pay is like 60 bucks! Clearly, much cheaper than when you’re in college. You also dont have to take some huge test at the end of the year like AP.

    • @Jeff — Awesome! I wish I had done more when I was in high school too!

  2. I took AP classes and did dual enrollment. I would definitely recommend this to everyone. I was able to graduate college a year early and with 2 degrees.

  3. For some reason my last comment came up with an error (so sorry if this post twice).

    I would definitely recommend doing this. I took both AP classes and did dual enrollment. So my whole senior year in high school was all college credit. I was able to graduate a whole year early with two degrees in college.

  4. Ok one last time (I keep getting an error message when posting).

    But I would definitely take college classes while in high school. I took AP classes and I did dual enrollment, and because of that I was able to graduate a year early with 2 degrees.

    • @Michelle — Sorry you seemed to have trouble with the posting… I will have to take a loot at it and see if anything can be done to fix it. I know that I need to install a plugin upgrade, so hopefully that will fix any issues!

  5. My former high school had community college classes taught there.

    • @Krantcents – That is awesome. I think that is one of the best options because it actually allows students to be succeed to college level professors and course material before they make the switch. Helps aid in the transition.

  6. I took five AP courses in high school; it was crucial, since I applied to a very competitive university. I was only allowed to use two of my AP credits, although the courses did help me by allowing me to test out or to higher levels of some basic freshman year courses.

    • @Elizabeth — Awesome! You made a great point. Even if you dont get actual college credit from the AP courses, they are still a worthwhile venture.

  7. The photo is reall perfect!I love the capture!

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