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Take Online Courses in High School to Earn College Credit

written by: Leyla Norman•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 5/26/2011

Dual enrollment is an effective tool to help you graduate from college faster. Take online college courses while you are still in high school to get both high school and college credit. Dual enrollment saves time and money!

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    Dual Enrollment


    High school students have the option in many school districts to enroll in dual enrollment courses that will provide them with both high school and college credit. These courses are an alternative to taking Advanced Placement courses for college credit. Some dual enrollment courses may be available as online courses through your local college or university. Courses taken in high school can help you get several hours of college credits out of the way before you even graduate high school.

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    Basic College Courses

    Dual enrollment courses are typically first and second year college courses that you will need to take. They include courses like English composition, literature, government, American history, biology, chemistry, foreign language and economics. Some math courses may be available as well.

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    Online and On Campus

    Many of these classes may be available in part or in whole online. However, if you are taking a science course, you may have to go on campus to do lab work once in a while. Each college’s online course offerings differs. In addition, the college and your school district may have special rules for high school dual enrollment students that may limit the number of online courses they can take.

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    Are You Ready?

    Full-time high school students that take online dual enrollment courses have to be prepared to work at night and on the weekends. If they do not have the chance to do their work during the day due to school, jobs and extracurricular activities, they may have to stay up late and give up weekend time to study. Online students are very self-motivated and can work independently. They are also able to interact with others easily online. They are comfortable with online discussion boards, emailing and using word processing software, too.

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    See if Your Courses Transfer

    Contact any college to which you may transfer to see if it will accept your online course credits before you enroll in them. Some colleges will make you retake courses if they do not think that the education you received in a similar course at another college meets their standards of quality. This results in wasted time, effort and money.

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    Is it Free?

    In many cases, dual enrollment courses are free or significantly reduced in price to high school students. This means that you finish high school and some college courses without having to pay much, if anything, for them. It is like being given a college tuition waiver or a scholarship to pay for the courses.

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    Ahead of the Game

    Online college courses taken in high school are a good way to get finished with high school and get college credit at the same time. You will learn more about how online courses work, which will prepare you to take some in college. You will be ahead of other students who are just figuring out online courses when you graduate.

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    Content from author’s experience.

    University of Tennessee. "Online Dual Enrollment."

    Image: Acer Aspire 8920 Gemstone by Georgy by Georgy90 under 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic licenses.