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College Credit Summer Courses for High Schoolers

written by: Jarod Saucedo•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 4/29/2011

Taking advantage of college credit opportunities during the summer can be a great method for students who are still in high school. College summer credit courses vary widely in the United States, however they can pay off for students who wish to get an early start on their college education.

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    Online Summer Courses

    Online Courses from a Laptop One of the easiest ways to earn college credit during the summer is to inquire about online courses. The surprising thing about online courses is that high school students can take specific courses just by having a laptop and an internet connection. Students do not have to worry about being near a college nor do they have to have a physical presence in a classroom.

    So where can you find information about these particular courses? The best method is to check out colleges that interest you and who offer online courses during the summer. The specific colleges vary dramatically based on which type of schooling you wish to pursue (for example, are you willing to pursue four-year institutions or perhaps more technical or vocational schools?).

    Let's say that you found a potential school and are ready to enlist in some summer courses. Which should you take? The best bet would be to take general study courses such as English, mathematics, science, and history courses as these usually meet most college or university standards. These types of courses are also more likely to transfer if you wish to pursue another school.

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    Governor's Schools

    Another option is to check out Governor's Schools. Governor's Schools are summer engagements that are offered to applicants whoWriting Essays for Governor's Schools  have a strong academic record and are willing to take courses that can prepare them for college. These summer institutions are often funded by the state and are usually minimal in financial costs for the student. If a student successfully completes a course, they may be entitled to college credit.

    Where are Governor's Schools located? For the most part, Governor's Schools usually take place on college or university campuses that are sponsored by the state. These locations can vary dramatically from year to year due to state funding as well as university policies. Students are most likely entitled to focus on one particular course and the types of courses can vary from state to state. For example, if a high school student applies for a Governor's School in Humanities, they can be certain that they may focus on literary or historical subjects.

    Governor's Schools are often very competitive to get into and usually have varying admission dates that vary from state to state. They are usually due in the fall preceding the summer, however, if a student gets into a Governor's School, they are most likely to benefit from the experience. Even if the student does not receive direct college credit for their major, it can prepare them for the college experience.

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    Direct Enrollment and Dual Credit

    High school students also have the opportunity to earn summer college credit by attending direct enrollment and dual credit courses. Direct enrollment refers to when students can apply for general studies courses that are offered on an university or college campus. These courses are also offered to other college students and can provide a glimpse of what an authentic college course is like. Admission to these courses varies with colleges and financial aid may or may not be eligible for high school students.

    The other option is called dual credit. Students can take general courses that can count for college and high school credit. For example, a student can take a college level English course and allow it to count for high school credit. Like the previous options, this option is limited to an agreement between a specific high school and college institution. Like direct enrollment, financial compensation varies dramatically.

    Overall, there are several opportunities to obtain college credit while in high school. College summer credit courses vary widely in the United States, however it is important for high school students to engage in these activities if they want to get a head start on their education. Even if the student does not receive college credit, they are still at an advantage when entering college.

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    • Eduguide Staff. "Eight Ways to Earn College Credit in High School and One Way to Lose Out."
    • Garland ISD. "College Credit Opportunities."
    • National Conference of Governor's Schools. "History."


    • Coelho, Everaldo and YellowIcon. "Laptop."
    • Levy, David and Father Goose. "Essay."

College Credit Opportunities

This series will focus on college credit opportunities for high school students who wish to get a head start on their college career.
  1. College Credit Summer Courses for High Schoolers
  2. College Credit Opportunities for High School Students