Accredited Online College Courses for High Schoolers
High schoolers can earn accredited college credits by taking courses online through accredited schools. Find out what options there are for high schoolers to earn college credits and what classes are available, as well as what accreditation entails.
How Can High Schoolers Earn Accredited College Credits?
High schoolers can take college classes at accredited colleges across the United States. This is sometimes called dual enrollment, meaning the classes count towards high school and college credit requirements. These can also be referred to as joint enrollment, meaning the credits count towards college requirements but not towards a high school degree. Students can take courses online from countless schools, but earning credits from accredited schools will be more beneficial. Students can earn accredited college credits by taking classes (either as dual or jointly enrolled) through colleges that are properly accredited.
|Credits for High Schoolers||Available through dual enrollment and joint enrollment|
|Accreditation||Awarded to colleges that meet specific criteria|
|Classes||English, business, mathematics, science, communication|
|Who Qualifies||Typically upper-level high schoolers (11th and 12th grades)|
What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a type of certification that is given to a school when it meets (or exceeds) a set of quality standards that are set by the accrediting organization. There are two types of accreditation that schools can obtain: national and regional. Credits from a nationally accredited school can typically only transfer to another nationally accredited school, but credits earned at a regionally accredited school can usually transfer to a school with either type of accreditation. Students who are dual-enrolled may have specifications on what schools they can attend to earn credit for their high school programs.
How Do I Know if a School is Accredited?
Schools almost always post information about accreditation on their websites. Students can also obtain accreditation information through federal sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, students may be able to retrieve a list of approved and accredited institutions through their high schools' dual enrollment representatives.
What Types of Classes Can I Take?
The type of classes available for dual enrollment students depends on the policies of their school. Students may be limited to certain classes or be able to take courses from a slew of subjects, with approval. Classes that dual enrollment students can take might include those in the following subjects:
- Computer science
- Criminal Justice
How Do I Know If I Qualify?
To qualify for dual enrollment, students typically need to be in their junior or senior year (although policies vary by state and school). Students might be limited to take only a few courses or be allowed to take college credits full-time. Students should consult with their schools to find out if they meet the requirements, such as a minimum GPA. Students may need to maintain a certain performance in their programs in order to continue taking classes through dual enrollment.
Why Should I Take College Classes in High School?
There are several benefits to taking college courses through dual enrollment. One of the biggest benefits of dual enrollment is that it often saves students money on future college programs. Most schools have discounted tuition rates for dual enrollment students, saving them as much as half on classes that they would eventually take in a college program anyway. Other benefits of dual enrollment include:
- Earlier graduation from college
- More flexibility for other academic experiences, such as studying abroad and internships
- Experience with college operations and systems earlier
- Dual enrollment and determination may help to secure scholarships and college admission later
- Fewer classes to take later on
- Can get general education courses out of the way