One great way to make full use of your student’s time in high school is by helping them to earn dual credit. What does dual credit mean? Dual credit is when you are in high school and can earn both high school and college credit for a course you are taking.
Earning Dual Credit in High School
As a homeschooler one readily available option for earning dual credit is by taking CLEP Exams. You can find out more about these at the College Board website. The basic idea is that you take a CLEP Exam to earn credit for knowledge gained outside the classroom.
In our homeschool our high schooler took U.S. History I and Psychology as high school courses at home. This earned her credit for these two courses in high school. Then to gain college credit for them as well, she used a CLEP prep book to study specifically for the CLEP Exam in each one of these courses. By taking and scoring high enough on the CLEP Exams she earned college credit for each of these courses.
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If your child is in high school and planning to go to college, you might want to start thinking about ways you can help them earn college credit while still in high school. Earning credit early can save students and parents both time and money, since students can complete and earn college credit for a lot of basic courses before ever stepping foot on a college campus. Here are a few ways to go about homeschooling for college credit:
- Advanced Placement Classes: These are college level classes that end with an exam that judges how well your student has learned the material. If they pass, they earn college credit. There are a wide variety of topics offered, so you can pick exams with your child based on their interests, or based on the colleges your child is interested in and what AP Tests they will give credit for. It’s super simple to teach the information at home and then have your child take the exam. The coolest thing about AP’s is your child earns double credit: they receive credit from you for learning the information in high school and also earn college credit (if they pass the AP test with a qualifying score, of course). The exams last 2-3 hours and are scored on a scale of 1-5 with five being the highest. Each college decides what score they will except as passing; most colleges accept a score of 4 or 5 for credit, and only some will accept 3′s. Click here to see the credit policy at a particular college on the College Board website.
- SAT II Subject Tests: These are very similar to the AP Exams. Your child simply learns one of the subjects offered at home and then takes the exam. An adequate score can mean earned college credit. You’ll want to do a little research on potential colleges and make sure that they accept these scores for credit. They’re offered by the College Board, just like the AP Program. Click here to learn more about the SAT II tests on the College Board website.
- CLEP Exams: Another very similar program to the AP and SAT II exams. 2,900 colleges grant CLEP credit if students earn the minimum qualifying score (which is generally 50). With these, like the SAT II, you’ll want to make sure the colleges your child is interested in accepts CLEP scores. Most of the tests are about 90 minutes long and are offered in a variety of subjects from business to German language. Learn more about the CLEP and what colleges will accept CLEP credits.
- Community College courses for Dual Credit: Some community colleges will allow homeschoolers in the latter high school years to enroll part time in classes. You’ll have to check with the community colleges in your area to see if they do this and what the requirements are. This is a very common way for students to earn high school AND college credit, while getting their feet wet in the college world.
- Some tips: The key to success on the exams is preparation. Make sure your child learns all of the required material but also have them complete several practice tests before the real one so that they can get a sense of what it will be like. Go over each practice exam carefully and figure out what material needs to be reviewed more and what your child already knows really well.
Good luck and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!