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:
[box] 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. [/box]
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!