Make It Count: How to Earn College Credit in High School

Let’s face it. College can be really expensive and every semester can make a huge dent in your bank account. Most students are trying to find ways to save money and come out of school with less debt. One of the most effective ways to do that is to spend less time at your more expensive college or university.

There are a few ways to make your overall schooling experience less expensive. By taking advantage of college credits offered at high school and community college programs most students can easily spend one less semester in school. That could save you around $10,000. Not too shabby.

AP Classes

One way that I was able to knock out some of my general education classes was by taking AP classes in high school. AP classes are offered in a lot of schools and are generally accepted for college credit as long as your receive a passing grade on the final AP Exam.

Both my junior and senior years of high school I took four AP classes. These ended up being extremely useful for my college career. I was able to transfer a number of classes that counted as humanities or social studies and I did not have to take any foreign language classes.

AP classes and exams are managed by The College Board who say on their website that, “Most four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam scores. By entering college with AP credits, you’ll have the time to move into upper level courses, pursue a double-major or study abroad.”

For more information on AP classes, exams and The College Board go to

Local Community College

During the Summer between my junior and senior years of high school I was able to take a class at my local community college for free. The college was doing a promotion for high school students to come and officially enroll in a class for free to learn more about their school and their programs. If students received an A or B in the first free class they were invited to take a second free class during the following fall or spring semesters.

Even though I did not end up attending that school permanently I was able to gain credits by participating in their promotional program. If you live near a community or junior college do some research and see if there are any programs for high school students who want to earn college credit.

Taking one of those classes will also give you the opportunity to see how you feel about the atmosphere of that type of school and if it is right for you.

If you are looking for a more long term option. You can get all of your general education classes done at a community college and then transfer to a larger college or university. Just be sure to check on how all of your credits will transfer to the school you eventually want to end up at. It would be a shame to spend all of that time and money taking classes only to realize that you  have to take all of those classes over again.

Study! Study! Study!

Of course it always helps to study for those SAT’s, ACTs and other entrance exams. If you get a high enough score it could be possible to test out of some of the classes you would otherwise be required to take at your college or university.

Even if you do not use this information to graduate a little sooner, you can use that extra time to make room to pursue a double major, engage in more extra-curricular activities or spend time studying abroad.

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Amber Bray

Amber Bray

Amber Bray is a senior at North Central College studying journalism and graphic design. Apart from her classes Amber writes a relationship advice column, along with other pieces, for the North Central Chronicle. She also writes and designs for North Central’s online magazine, The Viewfinder. Amber is a trivia fanatic and in her free time she enjoys board games, reading and writing fiction, and spending time with friends and family.