How can I use technology to get college credits in high school?


Mark Skoskiewicz, Founder, MyGuru

User avatar for Mark Skoskiewicz

So, I have actually taken several MOOCs, and they are a very convenient, effective, and generally cool way to learn new things and build your resume. However, in my opinion, they are currently far better suited to helping college students or professionals advance their careers than to helping high school students earn college credits. This is simply because today, as the previous response implies, there are not that many colleges offering credit to students who complete MOOCs. However, web-sites like LinkedIn do let you display certificates you earn from completing a MOOC, which is great for your personal professional brand.

However, there are two more direct, higher odds ways to use technology to earn college credit while in high school:

1. Take specific college courses online through online course providers that guarantee they will transfer, like Straighterline

Companies like Straighterline, where I was an MBA intern, offer full length online college courses that are guaranteed to transfer to a growing list of colleges. They also have an agreement with the American Council of Education, and they say taht "ACE CREDIT has evaluated and recommended StraighterLine courses for credit. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their schools course and degree programs. With these ACE recommendations, over 400 other colleges and universities have accepted StraighterLine’s courses for credit. Like with MOOCs, unless you are planning to attend one of the 80 colleges which guarantees college credit to Straighterline courses, you'll want to check with the college to ensure that the ACE credit transfer process will apply for the particular course you're planning on taking.

2. Self-study online for AP tests

You can take an AP test, get a score of 4 or 5, and receive college credit regardless of whether you actually took an "AP course" in high school. For example, I took an AP history course as a junior, and then, inexplicably decided not to actually sit for the AP exam because I thought I would fail (it was a very stupid decision). My parents got really upset, and they made me study by myself and then take it a full year later, without actually being enrolled in the AP history class at my school at that point in time. I got a 4, and received full college credit. International Baccalaureate program students frequently sit for AP exams and earn scores of 4 or 5, even though they don't actually take AP classes.

You could use web-sites like Kahn Academy, Learnerator, and others, to self-study online, and then sign up for and take an AP test.

Good luck!

Jenny Bristol, Homeschooling Parent, Writer, and Editor

User avatar for Jenny Bristol

One place to do some self-study for getting ready to take an AP test is edX. They have free, online AP classes in subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, French Language and Culture, Statistics, and Environmental Science, and, though they don't list it as an AP class, they also have Calculus. In addition to the material to study, some of the classes have instruction on how to prepare for the AP tests themselves. After you complete the necessary courses, sign up for the AP test in that subject.

Many of these classes are newly available, so it is likely that more classes or other sites will continue to add more content for students to get a head start on their college credits while still in high school.

Marguerite Dennis, Higher Education Consultant

User avatar for Marguerite Dennis

One way to earn college credit in high school is to enroll in a MOOC, or a massive open online course. MOOCs are a type of online course with large-scale participation and open access via the web.

You can use Noodle to search for online courses.

MOOCs are mostly free, and for now, most don’t award college credit. However, some courses do carry credit, and some colleges and universities are considering giving credit for specific MOOCs. The number of students taking MOOCs both in the United States and worldwide is staggering. The number and types of courses offered changes daily. That is why I am not listing statistics for high school students and adult learners who have taken, or are taking, a MOOC. By the time you read this, the information would be out-of-date and irrelevant.

It’s worth your effort to find out if any of your prospective college choices on your list accept MOOC credits or are planning to do so in the near future. This may be one way for you to add to the number of credits you take each semester or year. If your goal is to graduate in four years, then investigate any option that may assist you in reaching this goal.

Bretton M. DeLaria, Dual Credit Program Director

User avatar for Bretton M. DeLaria

In addition to MOOCs, IB, and AP you should also check in with local universities about programs for dual enrollment while in high school.

Dual Enrollment (DE) is a college credit opportunity for students still in high school to take college courses that fit into their schedule. Universities traditionally have considered dual enrollment to only apply to on-campus courses. However, with offerings of online courses growing, many are allowing high school students to utilize the dual enrollment model to enroll in online course offerings.

If you have a moment, check out my comparison of the four most common college credit opportunities.

Things to be aware of: - Tuition fees. Be sure to check with the university about fee and tuition. Most colleges I have worked with or know of students enrolling in dual enrollment have been able to secure a reduced tuition rate. However, often additional lab or course fees are not covered. Also be aware since you will be most likely classified as a "visiting student" you will not get scholarships. - Transferability. With any of these offerings you need to do your homework on what your prospective colleges will and will not accept. - Don't overdue it. Be sure that you don't put yourself in a position to compromise your performance and that you still have time to do the extra curriculars you enjoy.

The key is to ensure you diversify yourself for college admission. Admission offices want to see your involvement in community service, leadership roles, extra curricular activities, college courses, and strong performance in your high school courses. So don't over extend yourself and give yourself time to grow and achieve in each area.

Your Answer