By Lizzie Goddard | July 31, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

High school is a transformative period in a student’s life. It is a time of growth, self-discovery, and academic preparation. If you are just starting high school, it may seem like college is a distant milestone; however, college is an essential step towards a successful future.

To make the most of their higher education journey, students can take advantage of opportunities such as dual enrollment and college-level classes while in high school.

These options allow students to gain a head start, build a strong foundation, and maximize their potential for college success.

Here are some tips and benefits to dual enrollment and taking college-level classes in high school!

Let’s Start With Dual EnrollmentDual enrollment engages high school students with advanced material that can challenge them to expand their intellectual abilities, develop critical thinking skills, and develop a strong work ethic. Like this young man, who is loving his AP Calculus class.

Dual enrollment programs enable high school students to take college-level courses. These courses offer a more rigorous curriculum than standard high school classes.

By enrolling in these programs, students can earn both high school and college credits simultaneously, opening doors to countless possibilities.

Why is this valuable?

🔹College Experience

Dual enrollment provides a unique opportunity to experience college-level academics, teaching styles, and campus life. Engaging with advanced material can challenge students to expand their intellectual abilities, develop critical thinking skills, and develop a strong work ethic.

A robotics student in grade 10 is expected to acquire knowledge and go further into additional subjects such as math, physics, engineering, and other STEM fields.By immersing yourself in this environment, you can familiarize yourself with the expectations and demands of a college education.

Some dual enrollment classes are even offered right at your high school, so be sure to check with your guidance counselor about this option!

🔹College Credits

The credits earned through dual enrollment can be transferred to many colleges and universities.

This advantage not only shortens the time spent in college but also lowers the overall cost of tuition, potentially saving thousands of dollars.

Next Up: College-Level Classes in High SchoolAP Biology allows high school students to study and obtain credit for college-level biology courses.

Apart from dual enrollment programs, many high schools offer college-level classes directly on their campuses. 

These courses, usually referred to as Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, provide a similar opportunity to acquire college credits. 

Why is this valuable?

🔹College-Level Rigor

AP and IB courses mirror the intensity and pace of introductory college classes. They are designed to expose students to university-level content and foster the skills needed to succeed in higher education.

Engaging with these challenging courses can enhance a student’s academic preparedness for college. 

Students in high school received their AP exam scores. Colleges will give credit and/or advanced placement for AP scores of 3 or above.🔹College Credit

Strong AP or IB scores may even grant advanced placement or exemption from introductory college courses, providing students with greater flexibility in their college journey.

It is important to note that some schools may require you to retake a class at their college or university even if you receive a passing score on the AP exam. This is most likely the case if you plan to major in the specific course you took the AP exam on.


College Admissions Advantage

College-level courses demonstrate a student’s commitment to academic excellence and intellectual curiosity. Admissions officers often view such coursework favorably, as it showcases a student’s readiness for the challenges of college education.

If these types of classes and opportunities sound interesting to you, but you are unsure of how to manage all the demands, here are some quick tips!

1. Ask for guidance.Time management skills include creating a study plan and prioritizing tasks to meet the demands of high school, extracurricular activities, and college-level education.

Consult with school counselors, teachers, and college advisors to select the most appropriate courses based on your interests, goals, and college aspirations. They can provide insights on course availability, credit transferability, and prerequisites.

We are happy to help work through this with you at The College Planning Center!

2. Manage your time.

College-level coursework requires discipline and practical time management skills.

Develop a study schedule and prioritize tasks to balance the demands of high school, extracurricular activities, and college-level coursework.

Because college admissions officers value well-rounded students, this kid studied AP Music Theory.3. Embrace challenges.

Don’t shy away from rigorous coursework. Use these opportunities to push your boundaries, tackle complex subjects, and build resilience.

Embrace the learning process and view challenges as opportunities for growth.

4. Maintain balance.

While it’s crucial to challenge yourself academically, it’s equally important to maintain a healthy balance. Engage in extracurricular activities, pursue hobbies, and nurture social connections. 

College admissions officers value well-rounded individuals.

Plus, high school is an exciting time in your life!

You want to be sure you are not overwhelmed by coursework and can enjoy your high school years!

A resume builder to help high school students track their activities and hours.