Sure, you can take one or two dual credit classes and save money on your college degree when you transfer those credits. But what if you created a plan for earning a full year’s worth of college credit while you are in high school? You could save thousands of dollars on your bachelor’s degree and finish college sooner.
Here are some tips for using dual credit to earn a year’s worth of college credit in high school.
Earning a year’s worth of college credit will take some planning. A year of college is typically 30 credit hours, or 10 three-hour courses. Most dual credit courses are designed to be completed in a semester, and you’ll want to spread out your course load over four or five semesters to make sure you have time for other courses and hobbies.
As you think through your roadmap, decide which semesters might have more requests on your time. If you play a sport, which semester will most of your games and tournaments land? Do you participate in clubs or theater that will require your time at specific points of the year? Would you want to take a course over the summer?
Some of the courses available as dual credit are also ones you need to take in order to graduate high school. You might as well get college credit for them! In addition to those, you’ll want to take dual-credit courses that will easily transfer to your degree program in college.
General education courses, like the ones available through TEL Learning, are highly transferable. They are the foundational courses that most colleges want their students to take at some point in their college career. Students finish these courses honing skills such as writing, critical thinking, and communication in addition to the actual content knowledge.
We do have a guide with suggestions on which courses to take and when to take them. You can use this as a starting point for creating your own schedule.
You have a lot going on between school, family responsibilities, and extracurricular activities. Sometimes it’s hard to remember if you ate breakfast much less which course you took two semesters ago. Set up a system to track which courses you want to take and which courses you’ve completed. Hint: there is a printable checklist in the guide linked above. That way, when it’s time to plan your next set of courses, you know which ones you need to stay on track.
Also, be sure to take advantage of the support available to you through the dual-credit program and your school counselors. There are a lot of benefits to dual-credit courses, but most of them only happen when you pass. Make time for study sessions and reach out to your instructor if you have questions. That is what they are there for!
As you identify the target colleges and universities you want to apply to, be sure to look at their transfer policies. Most four-year public universities will accept dual credit from regionally accredited universities (which all of TEL’s partners are), but it’s always good to verify. Talk with an admissions counselor to understand their school’s specific policy. You will submit your transcript when you officially apply, but strange transfer policies may help you pare down your list.
With a little bit of planning, you can connect your dual-credit efforts into a year’s worth of college credit. Of course, you save a ton on your college degree, but you also start your career earlier. That’s an extra year for a valuable internship or an earlier start to earning a full-time income. Or to take a gap year after college to do volunteer work before you jump into a career. Earning extra college credit in high school gives you options.
Interested in starting your dual-credit journey with TEL? Check out our course catalog and enroll today!