Taking College Credits in High School: Cut Undergrad Costs While Learning the Ropes

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College Credits in High School

Taking college credits in high school is an excellent strategy to reduce undergraduate costs while gaining valuable experience. By enrolling in advanced placement (AP) courses, dual enrollment programs, or college-level exams like the CLEP, high school students can earn college credits and potentially shorten their time in university. This not only saves on tuition expenses but also allows students to acclimate to the rigours of college coursework before officially entering higher education. By taking advantage of these opportunities, students can get a head start on their college education, graduate earlier, and ultimately alleviate the financial burden associated with pursuing a degree.

How College Credits in High School Help Cut Undergrad Costs?

Students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in high school can earn college credits to reduce their undergraduate costs in multiple ways. Each college and university has specific policies regarding high school credits. To improve their credits, students are advised to research and consult with the institutions they plan to attend to understand their transfer credit policies. 

Dual Enrollment Programs

One of the significant ways to earn college credits in high school is to opt for dual enrollment programs. Various high schools partner with local universities or colleges to allow students to join college-level courses while still in high school. These programs offer college as well as high school credit. After successful completion of these programs, students can accumulate college credits before even entering college, thereby reducing the number of credits they need to take during their undergraduate studies.

Also Read: What is a Credit Hour System?

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Another way to reduce undergrad costs with high school credits is to appear for AP exams. Any student who obtains a good score on the exam at the end of AP courses may be granted college credit. Owing to this, she/they/he will be exempted from taking equivalent introductory-level courses in college. This will, therefore, save both money and time, as the student can potentially skip introductory courses and directly proceed with advanced coursework. 

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams

These exams also help students earn college credits in high school as they get an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in specific subjects. If high school students achieve satisfactory marks in CELP exams, they may be granted college credit. By earning credits through CLEP exams, students can potentially bypass certain courses in college, saving time and money.

Must Read: European Credits Transfer System

Reduced Course Load

Additionally, by earning credits in high school, a student gets the opportunity to lighten her/their/his course load during undergraduate studies. This flexibility allows the student to take fewer credits per semester. This will, thus, reduce tuition costs and allow her/them/him more time to focus on internships and part-time jobs. 

Accelerated Degree Programs

Furthermore, if a high school student enters college/university with credits already earned, she/they/he might get the opportunity to procure admission to accelerated degree programs. These programs will enable the student to complete their undergraduate course before designated tenure. This will in turn help save on tuition fees and cost of living

Relevant Read: University Terminology: Terms Related to Universities that you should know as an International Student

Other Advantages of Earning College Credits in High School

In addition, students who earn college credits while in high school also avail of advantages such as accelerated degree completion, increased flexibility, easy college admissions, academic challenge and preparedness, etc. However, it is essential to note that the benefits of earning college credits in high schools can differ. These benefits depend on the individual’s goals, the specific college or university they plan to attend, and the transfer credit policies of the institution. 

Accelerated Degree Completion

By joining the college with adequate credits earned before, a student may have the opportunity to complete their undergraduate course in a shorter timeframe. On account of this, a student can gain employment or pursue postgraduate courses readily. 

Increased Flexibility

Earning college credits before entering college/university provides a student with greater flexibility in undergraduate course selection. She/they/he may get the opportunity to pursue specialised or advanced courses in their higher education journey. This will enable her/them/him delve deeper into their areas of interest or explore additional disciplines.

College Admissions Advantage

Earning college credits while in high school can help students improve their college application, owing to their ability to handle college-level work. Admissions officers may view this as a strong indicator of a student’s academic readiness and commitment to learning.

Academic Challenge and Preparedness

College-level courses in high school can provide a more rigorous academic experience, challenging students to develop critical thinking, time management, and study skills necessary for success in higher education. By experiencing the demands of college-level coursework earlier, students can better prepare themselves for the academic expectations of college.

Relevant Read: Everything You Need to Know About Your College Transfer Credits

Exploration of Majors and Interests

Moreover, high school students who earn college credits can utilise this opportunity to explore potential majors and multiple subjects before starting college. This can assist students in making informed decisions about their academic and career paths.


1 What is the use of college credit?

College credit helps students to select required subjects and majors in undergraduate, reduce undergrad costs, ease the admission process, and overcome academic challenges. 

2 How can I get college credits without taking classes?

Some of the common ways to get college credits in high school are CELP, AP Courses, and Dual Enrollment Programmes. 

3 What is a Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS)?

It is an academic framework that offers flexibility and choice to students in course selection. It emphasises skill development, interdisciplinary learning, and credit transfer. These features then enable students to personalise their academic paths and acquire a wider skill set. 

Stay in tune with Leverage Edu and Leverage Live to explore study abroad opportunities with credit scores and other relevant factors. 

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