Taking College Courses in High School Part 3

Online College Courses

Another alternate is online education, which allows students to select from a broad range of courses, from introductory level to advanced, that can be taken while in high school and then transferred to college upon enrollment. Because they can be taken from the home and on a student’s schedule, online courses may be easier for students who cannot devote time to taking several courses at a community college, or who are limited by the amount of AP courses they have time to take. Online courses can also be very cost-effective.

Online courses fall into three categories: those offered by online colleges and universities like Western Governors University and Capella, those offered online by traditional schools like Thomas Edison State College, and those offered online by educational providers like StraighterLine. In all cases, unless the courses are offered by the school which the student eventually attends, the courses need to be transferred to and accepted for credit by that school.

One way to choose good courses is to look for those reviewed and recommended by ACE. Over 1200 colleges and universities participate in the ACE CREDIT program run by the American Council on Education, and courses reviewed and recommended by ACE are more likely to be accepted at those schools.

Finally, not all online courses are inexpensive. Courses can range from $39 per course with a $99 subscription fee at StraighterLine to hundreds or even thousands of dollars at some online schools. As with everything on the Internet, do your research and shop around .

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

An alternative to the AP exams is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). This is a diploma earned by completing a special curriculum that covers all basic areas of knowledge, such as language, mathematics, experimental science, and humanities, and is considered in many countries a qualification to enter university. However, most colleges in the United States do not offer credit for IB courses, although they do serve to prepare a student well for the AP exams[7], which are accepted by most American universities.

All of these options give students a chance to find what works best for them and give themselves the opportunity to make their college experience, swifter, smoother, and cheaper. For a student who wants to reduce tuition debt and start a career, taking college courses early is an excellent way to get a head start on life. College education is meant to prepare students for their future lives and careers, and so the more time spent using the fruits of an education and the earlier they can be obtained, the better.

[7] Mathews, Jay. "Despite IB Growth, College Credit Is Elusive - Washingtonpost.com." The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines - The Washington Post. 25 Feb. 2008. Web. 18 July 2011.