“Tell me more about students taking real college classes in high school.”
In the majority of states nationwide, 11th and 12th graders can take real college classes in high school in place of ordinary high school classes, and earn college credit and high school credit at the same time—often at their state’s expense.
The key is—parents need to start looking into this and signing up for it now—in January, about 8 months before these classes begin.
Parents of current 10th and 11th graders, this article is a great place for you to learn more.
Is it a good idea for teens to take real college classes in high school?
Increasingly, school staff at both public and private high schools are saying yes, and are working to create new and better ways for students to do so—saving parents thousands in unnecessary college costs.
Private education, especially, is benefitting.
Private high schools have the flexibility to create innovative in-school programs where students as young as 11th grade are able to take real college classes for real college credit during the school day, while still having a full, enriching private high school experience.
Innovation like this works out well for parents, schools, and students. Parents find it easier to pay private school tuition when they know their future college costs are going to be lower, schools are able to brag that many of their students are graduating high school with as much as two years of college credit already completed, and students who are ready to achieve can dive into real college work as soon as they’re ready for it, efficiently earning college credit and high school credit at the same time.
This is leading both private and public schools to say, “Let’s do all we can to help students take real college classes in high school!”
AP classes declining in popularity
For years, high schools offered Advanced Placement (AP) classes in an effort to help high-achieving students earn some college credit before age 18, but in recent years, concern about the AP program has caused its popularity to plummet. Fewer than 50% of students who take AP courses actually receive the promised college credit, and that makes AP the least dependable way to earn college credit in high school.
Students who take real college classes in high school enjoy 7 significant advantages:
1. They increase their chances of being admitted to the colleges they’d most like to attend, since college admissions committees see that they’ve already opted to take the toughest academic road in high school.
2. As high school seniors, they’re stronger candidates for the free money merit aid that colleges extend to highly-qualified applicants they are especially hoping to attract.
3. When they get to college, they aren’t usually asked to sit through (or pay for!) expensive remedial classes that give them no actual college credit.
4. They walk onto their eventual college campuses with confidence. They know how to organize themselves to accomplish college-level work, because they’ve already had substantial experience with it.
5. They may be able to move an entire year (or two) sooner into the more advanced, more interesting college courses that apply most directly to their future career fields.
6. They’ll have the option of being able to take somewhat lighter class loads each semester they’re in college and still graduate in four years or less. They’ll still qualify as full-time students, but they won’t need to pack every semester tightly with classes in order to earn all the credits necessary to graduate on time. They’ll end up with more time each semester to work on their more advanced classes, and they’ll also have more time available for the committed volunteering in their career field that is so important to their future career success.
7. They typically save massive amounts of money on college costs.
As I’ve written before—with a little specialized academic support, highly-motivated high school students can both succeed at college classes in 11th and 12th grade, and, at the same time, still have “the full high school experience.”
“But… if my child takes real college classes in high school, will they transfer?”
The majority of the time, real college courses will transfer to the student’s future undergraduate institution. And if they don’t for some reason? The student will still have enjoyed a rigorous, enriching academic experience during 11th and 12th grades, and that will give him or her a strong foundation on which to build later.
Learn whether your state pays for students to take real college classes in high school.
I encourage you—google the name of your state along with the words “dual enrollment” or “concurrent enrollment.” This will help you find your state’s department of education website, which is a great place for you to learn more and call to ask questions.
Special note to those parenting 9th graders right now
Google the words “technical college” and your zip code. Find the technical college nearest your house. Call there and ask if your child can take a technical college class at state expense starting in the fall of 10th grade.
If the answer is yes, ask to see a list of classes your child could sign up for at that technical college. It will be so interesting to see which class your son or daughter is most interested in. Taking this class may spark interest in a possible future career path—or it might give birth to a new hobby your kid will enjoy for a lifetime!
I provide additional important information on taking college classes in high school in Chapters 9, 12, 14, 16, and 17 of my book:
It’s a reference book, so nobody reads the whole thing cover to cover. Pick out what you need to read in it using the fast-paced, 10-minute video instructions here.
You can see more than 180 reviews of this book on Amazon by going to:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCH, here.
You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCH, here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Take a step on this right now. Get regular, inspiring help from me—every Monday morning.
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Do you worry that taking college classes in high school could somehow hurt your kid?
See the reassuring article I’ve written on this subject here.
Are you parenting a 10th or 11th grader—or do you serve families of high school students? What are your thoughts about students taking real college classes in high school?
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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26, their parents, and the professionals who serve them. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free, ready to move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazine, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.