Earning Credits Before College

high school studentsMany first year students go into college without really knowing what to expect. Will their social lives be the same as in high school? How will they manage living on their own? Will they survive the workload and college level classes? These are common questions posed by millions of college students each year. In fact, according to a 2010 study conducted by The College Board, only 49% of high school seniors reported that their school did a good job in preparing them for success after high school graduation.

Because starting college can be quite a challenge, it is becoming more popular for high school students to get a leg up on graduation by earning college credits before physically stepping into a college classroom. There are several ways for a high schooler to do this: Advanced Placement (AP) classes and International Baccalaureate courses (IB) are two examples being offered to students prior to Freshman year. 

DSST tests (formerly known as the DANTES exam) provide another opportunity for high school students to start accruing credits prior to entering college. With 38 unique subjects to choose from, a high school senior can earn credit for a three month course in just a single sitting. And while the average three-credit college course costs around $750, a DSST exam is only $80 (plus a sitting fee). Especially for high school students who worry about managing their time during their first year of college, earning credits in advance can allow for a lighter schedule during Freshman year without falling behind and requiring additional semesters to graduate. This can also help students gain a better understanding of what college-level courses and exams might be like.

A few DSST exam titles that high school students can look into taking include: Astronomy, Fundamentals of College Algebra, Here’s to Your Health, Introduction to Computing, Money and Banking and Principles of Statistics.

Have you taken advantage of college credit programs while still in high school? Tell us your story in the comments below!

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