Earn Credit in High School

"Earn Credit in High School" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 27th May 2011

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Jump Start complements your high school experience and is part of your academic day. Students participate in apprenticeship training and post-secondary courses, earning dual credits that count towards their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification.

Look into taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in high school and then take the exams to earn college credit. AP and IB exams are offered in a number of subjects, but some colleges limit the number of units you can earn this way. You may be able to take community college courses while in high school through a dual enrollment program. If your school doesn’t offer one, try enrolling directly on your own.

The benefits are numerous! Earning college credit while in high school has many benefits, including saving money on future college tuition, graduating from college earlier and being more prepared for rigorous college-level study. There are a variety of programs which enable students to start college with a number of credits under their belt. You earn college credit that may be transferred to a four-year college or university, can explore career options, and receive tuition reduction and other financial assistance, if eligible.


Students over the age of 16 who have failed a high school class or are short of credits toward graduation are eligible for high school credit courses. Students and parents must work with their local high school guidance counselor or at-risk coordinator in determining the best educational plan. Local school districts will continue to issue diplomas, align curriculum, determine what constitutes a credit, establish a credit award system, identify assessments, set school calendars, select and purchase textbooks, etc. Local school boards and districts will continue to have flexibility to determine "how" to implement these new graduation requirements and when students have earned the credits.

Challenging Courses = Big Rewards

Credits worthy?

Earning college credit in high school is not new. The Advanced Placement program has been around for decades. Students take college-level AP classes at their high school. To earn college credit, they then must get a high score on a nationally administered test. Many students who take the classes never take the tests, and many don't make a high enough grade to earn credit.

In dual credit, students simply must pass the class to receive college credit – a much better deal, counselors tell students. The Dual Credit Program may provide a more stimulating environment for some students, helping them to succeed. The number of students taking dual-credit classes has more than doubled in the last five years, primarily because of changes in state law requiring high schools to offer students the opportunity to earn at least 12 college credit hours while in high school.

But the increasing number of students getting more and more credits raises issues about how prepared the students really are. Having credit accepted doesn't mean it will help a student graduate earlier. The classes may or may not count toward a specific degree.

Students who take strong academic courses in high school are more likely to enroll in college and earn a degree. That's important, because higher education pays: On average, college graduates earn more than a million dollars more over a lifetime than those with only a high school education. High school graduates earn 42 percent more than high school dropouts

Learn and Earn Early College High Schools allow students to jump start their college education or gain career skills for free. Students in early college high schools attend a high school located on a college campus and can earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit or an associate degree in up to five years - for free!

Schools may waive the definition of "credit" to the extent that students must complete a course that includes a minimum amount of instruction. This allows schools to award credit based on demonstration of proficiency against the academic standards in a course that meets the requirements. Courses taught for high school credit in middle school must be equivalent to the high school course and cover the same Academic Standards. In addition, grades and credits for the course must be included on the student's high school transcript and factored into the cumulative GPA. These courses and credits may be used to fulfill the number of credits required for graduation.

Students can earn units of credit in the following ways:

Note: Everything may vary from State to State, even school.

For details, see your high school counselor, or go to http://apcentral.collegeboard.com or www.ibo.org/