Classes that can get you college credit in high school

bookYou’re probably thinking, “I want to have fun in high school - I'll have plenty of time to take college classes once I'm there. Why would I want to take college classes now?” Well, you certainly don’t have to, but it can show colleges that you can handle college work. You might also be able to use the credits to skip certain classes when you get to college, which will help you save time and money. Here are three ways you can get college credit in high school:

AP or IB classes
Most high schools have the option of AP or IB classes.  AP is “Advanced Placement” and IB is “International Baccalaureate.” These classes let you take courses in your high school at a college pace. In order to get college credit, you have to take a standardized test for the subject at the end of the year.

If you are very ambitious there’s a subject you’d like to study that’s not offered as an AP or IB course at your school, you can always take the test without taking the class. If you’d like to do this, I’d highly recommend getting a study guide.

College credit for high school courses
Local colleges or universities sometimes give college credit for high school classes even if they are not AP or IB. You might not find out if you can get college credit until you start taking the class. The good thing is that you won’t have to take any tests at the end of the year to get the credit – the grade you get in the class will be added to your college transcript as well as your high school one.

You may have to pay a fee at the beginning of the class to get college credit. When I was in high school, I had the option of paying $50 to get credit from a local college. The fees for your high school classes might seem like a lot of money now, but it could save you money in the future if it’s less than what you’d pay in college.

Sometimes you won’t be able to use the credits at any college, so make sure you ask your teacher for the list of colleges that will accept the credits. I knew I wanted to go to school outside of my state and I wouldn’t have been able to use the credits for any schools outside my state. So if the colleges you are interested in are not on the list, then there is no use in paying extra money to get the college credits.

Taking college classes at a local college
Taking classes at a local college or university lets you see what it’s like to take college classes in college. Check with your high school to see if you can get some sort of scholarship - you may be able to get the entire class paid for, including books!

While there is no harm in taking classes at a community college if you want to learn something new, remember that they might not transfer to a four-year college or university. Unless you know the college you’d like to go to will accept those credits or you are considering attending a community college, you might want to take a class from a four-year college instead.


If you don’t want to balance high school and college classes during the school year, you could take a college course during the summer. However, you’ll probably have to pay for the class yourself.


If you’re up to the challenge, you have a few options for getting college credit while in high school. It will help prepare you for the next couple of years and even save you some money, but don’t take them if you’re not ready. It’s more important to get A’s and B’s in the classes you’re already taking than to get D’s or F’s in classes that are too hard for you. Don’t forget that if you take AP or IB tests, you’ll still have to submit the scores to the college you get into. If you took classes for college credit, you’ll have to submit the transcript from the college that gave you credit.


>>11 things to do in high school to prepare for college