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Enrolling in Community College as a High School student?

adityadadityad Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
A little backstory: I'm an international student from South East Asia. My excitement for studying in the US excited my parents, so my father arranged a meeting with his friend's son, who attended a university there.

He said that he attended community college before going to university. I was quite interested at this, since he said that he learned quite a lot of valuable skills and made valuable friends. But then he said he attended the college at 16 years old, meaning he skipped his eleventh and twelfth grade.

I have a few questions regarding this.

One, is it truly possible to skip my eleventh and twelfth grade (as an international student) and directly go to community college? Allegedly, this is what my dad's friend's son did. If so, is it possible in all states or some states?

Two, what about my high school diploma? Will I be able to get a diploma attending community college?

Three, is it really easier to go to top universities after attending community college? He said that a friend of his got into Harvard after community college.

Please answer, as I'm currently in my sophomore year, and I need to decide on this quickly!

Replies to: Enrolling in Community College as a High School student?

  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 737 Member
    Ok - I think maybe you need to ask your friend if he got an AA degree in a community college and then transferred to a university from there?

    My son is American and in our state it is possible for students who qualify to do something called dual enroll for junior or senior year. So take community college classes to fulfill some of your high school graduation requirements and some credits then may transfer to a 4 year degree at a university (that depends on the classes, the community college, and the university you're transferring to). However, unless you have an umbrella high school I'm guessing it's going to be hard to get a high school diploma while attending a community college. That said, if you complete an AA and apply to 4 year universities as a transfer student, universities really don't care about your high school info if you have that much college under your belt.

    Transferring to somewhere like Harvard after attending a CC would be unusual but not necessarily impossible. My son attending the CC is now a senior and is applying to some elite schools (not ivy league though). We're more worried about the finances than the admissions actually. I would say there are many many good options to transfer to from a CC. If you really want all those credits to count toward a 4 year, you probably want to have a clear sense of your path from your community college. Many community colleges will have a direct transfer agreement with some higher institution(s). If you are able to transfer to a more elite school, you will likely lose most of your credits and be starting as a freshman. Which is fine as long as you're clear on that up front.

    I would say if you are interested in transferring to a variety of options, you will want to get very involved in your community college. Look for leadership opportunities, clubs, things of interest to you to get involved in. My son goes to an urban community college and it has been really fantastic. The teachers like to teach and many are teaching at more expensive private colleges.
  • adityadadityad Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Hi @MusakParent,
    thanks for your reply,

    Is it possible to attend some community college courses while homeschooled there? I'm planning on moving to the US as I finish my sophomore year (meaning, I'll be 16.) I'm still currently learning the education system in the US, and how to get a high school diploma while getting some college credits.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 737 Member
    edited October 2018
    Yes, coincidentally my son was/is technically homeschooled (did mostly online/contract teacher classes) freshman and sophomore year before starting community college classes. He actually still does 2 subject areas outside the CC setting for junior and senior year. If you are a registered homeschooler abiding by the regulations of whatever state you move to, one of your parents could possibly issue you a high school diploma. Some states will require an umbrella program or other hoops. That said you'd want very thorough documentation on your schooling so far and how you would finish out your sophomore year. My son's transcript and class descriptions he is using to apply to colleges are a 12+ page document of class descriptions, book lists, teachers, resources, etc.
  • adityadadityad Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    edited October 2018
    @MusakParent
    Again, thanks for your reply! Do you think dual enrollment while homeschooling benefited your child in any way? How does it compare to being a normal high school student, for instance. I'm beginning to consider this as I'm excited about the opportunities there. My parents aren't convinced of my plan as of yet, and we're still counting our budget. My parents say the living cost in the US will be highly expensive.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,718 Senior Member
    OP - Why not transfer to a traditional US HS? Depending on where you are moving, you may have access to great public schools that would offer AP courses, guidance counseling/help for college applications, and perhaps a smoother transition. I wouldn't rule traditional HS out!
  • adityadadityad Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    @momofsenior1 I'm still considering that as well. The main reason I want to go to the US is to find enriching opportunities, such as internships, research projects at universities, jobs, and the time to create personal projects of my own. (I'm a programmer, and it would be great if I had time to create stuff like apps, games, etc.) I also want to make friends and network with interesting people. Those kinds of opportunities are not commonly found in my country.

    The problem of attending a traditional high school is, at least from my reasoning and research, I won't have much time for the opportunities I mentioned above. Dual enrollment while homeschooled, meanwhile, can give me the opportunities that I need (at least, I think so. Again, I'm still doing an extensive amount of research, and a lot of discussing with my parents.) By attending some community college courses (or, if possible, attending community college full time), I can get the opportunity to meet some interesting people and do interesting stuff.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,718 Senior Member
    You can still do interesting stuff and meet interesting people in traditional.. My daughter had the opportunity to take three project based engineering courses in her HS, students did summer research and worked, attended stem programs, stem competitions, etc....

    Keep on doing your research. As I mentioned, a lot will depend on where you will be living in the US.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 737 Member
    My son is a music and performing arts kid so homeschooling has definitely benefited him with opportunities in those areas. Especially as a young person living in an urban area.

    But I do agree it's possible to have great experiences as a student in a more traditional school too. Each school program and system is unique. Our urban area has charter schools for more tech oriented kids. Project based high schools, etc. You can also do an online charter potentially that would do the diploma and set up course work for you, but allow more flexibility in your schedule. We also have a charter school here that has you in the classroom 2-3 days a week and with independent work the rest of the week. You just really need to do the homework on wherever you are moving to especially if you're considering homeschooling a gap in your education. My kid started homeschooling younger due to basically not getting into a magnet school in our area and having a really awful experience at our neighborhood school (which is actually a great school for many kids - my kid is an out of the box learner). He chose to continue through high school due to our dual enroll program and flexibility.
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 4,869 Senior Member
    edited October 2018
    Where will you be living? At least tell us the state, if not also the main regional area. So much for opportunities and regulations depends upon where you will be. The US is not the same all over when it comes to education with the things you are talking about.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 7,701 Senior Member
    Each state has it's own homeschool regulations. What's acceptable in one may not be in another.
  • CCtoAlaskaCCtoAlaska Registered User Posts: 583 Member
    I think your plan is good but remember that programs for HS students and tuition are very particular in terms of where you live. You may not be accepted without a HS diploma or GED if you are not a resident. Also check the compulsory school laws carefully. And homeschool laws vary. It may make a big difference if you matriculate as an international student or as a resident (not necessarily citizen). But this is essentially what my daughter did for essentially the same reason - research, own projects. She left HS after 10th grade to do a math degree at CC. But it was a little complicated to finagle. I have been told by admissions officers that they respect degrees earned on campus in classes taken with adults but not dual enrollment credits earned at the high school. So that is a factor if you consider a HS program where you dual enroll at the HS.
  • adityadadityad Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    @CCtoAlaska May I ask which state your daughter went to? I've heard Washington is a good one for these types of programs. Though it's not my first choice for states to go to, I do have some family living there. Also, was your daughter considered as a transfer student in the admissions process? I've heard being considered as a transfer actually decreases one's chances of getting in.
  • CCtoAlaskaCCtoAlaska Registered User Posts: 583 Member
    She is in PA and is still in her first year. She will find out about transferring later but we've already talked to admissions officers from different schools and they all have different takes on it. The bottom line is they will consider her either a transfer junior or a freshman with credits to transfer in. She will just ask the school which would be more beneficial. Since the question really only has to do with money and availability of merit scholarships, unless your grades and profile are top top notch, I think you will always come out ahead financially entering as a junior rather than a freshman. But there is a choice and the schools said they would shuffle the application around if you had more chances for more money going in another way. She was mostly a B student at HS so I expect she will not receive any merit aid at all so transferring in as a junior will be how she saves money unless by some miracle she gets all As in community college and someone gives her a transfer scholarship. She's a math major, though, so that is unlikely to happen. The classes are too hard and As are not given out.

    The story about being a transfer decreasing your chances is true of some schools and not of others. U Penn has taken hundreds of kids in the last decade as transfers from her community college. Other Ivies virtually take none. Some schools are easier to get into as a transfer. It just depends. I've chosen to ignore it as a factor since it's so unpredictable. Some schools will really like transfers from specific programs like a CC honors program. Others are fussy (mostly because they are more well-known and can strongarm more tuition money out of students). One local well known university that is not elite but fairly competitive takes this tactic. But it's not a great school, so who cares? My daughter's classes at CC has been way more rigorous than the classes she took there. Transfer schools know.
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