An Online College Primer for Faith-Based Homeschoolers: Part Three
This was the case for Jansina Grossman who, at the age of 13, started taking online college courses through a community college:
According to Jansina, “I am a Christian who was homeschooled through graduation, and took online classes at the local community college when I was 13. I took Geography and Writing, one each semester, because they were general classes I would need for any degree, and I chose to take them online because it would be a good introduction to college for me. I earned a total of 6 credits before starting college full-time the next fall.”
(Jansina now has a website where she features her skills in writing, you can check it out at:www.rivershorebooks.com)
As with any family, cost is a factor when making the transition to college. For some faith-based homeschooling families, with larger numbers of children than the average American family, there may even be an increased focus on college affordability and cost. Earning advanced college credits can really help to put a college education within reach financially and to reduce the overall time it takes to graduate.
There are three main ways to earn college credits as a faith-based homeschooler prior to enrolling in college:
Just because you are homeschooled doesn’t mean that AP courses are out of reach. Online college course provider StraighterLine offers 5 online AP courses which have received approval by the College Board to be listed as AP courses: AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP English Language and Composition, AP Calculus AB, and AP Psychology.
As a homeschooling student, you can prepare for AP tests at home, and take the AP tests you are interested in by registering through an AP coordinator in your local school system.
Dual enrollment programs can be an extremely efficient use of a homeschooler’s time. Through dual enrollment programs high school students can take courses that can be applied towards their high school graduation requirements, while at the same time, earning advanced credits for college.
The rules for dual enrollment programs, however, are dependent on your state’s policy. For some, you can take part in dual credit programs directly with community colleges, but for others, you must enroll specifically through the state’s dual credit program offered by the state’s board of education. Additionally, for some dual credit programs, the requirement of place (where you take classes) is reintroduced, taking students out of the home environment and back onto a physical campus to take classes.
With dual enrollment programs, you will also need to pay attention to college credit attribution. Some states won’t allow you to keep earning college credit once you’ve met all your high school credit requirements; you’ll have to enroll directly in college and pay college tuition prices. Additionally, some states won’t allow you apply and transfer credits directly into your college program of choice once you’ve counted those credits towards your high school graduation requirements. It can be confusing.