College Credit in High School


My school has a really bad dual credit program that only offers 1 class, so I contacted a T20 university near me and a few professors allowed me to take their class as a visiting undergrad during the summer. I will get around 9 credit hours (3 classes). I see people on chance me with 70+ credit hours and I think 9 is a bit low. What is a good number to aim for? The 70+ hrs people were able to get dual credit, but sadly I can’t so this is all extracurricular. By the time I apply, I should have 18 hrs (9 hrs for 2 summers) and 12 Master’s degree credits -1/3 of a master’s degree (accepted into a program that allows you to take graduate classes for a low price), and have taken a medical school class (not for credit). Is that enough? I think 30 hrs is a good number (1/4 of bachelors), what do you think?

Most college frosh have not taken any actual college courses while in high school (whether or not they are dual credit).

Whether college courses taken while in high school will (a) impress college admission readers, and/or (b) be useful for credit, subject credit, and/or advanced placement in college depends on (1) what courses they actually are, and (2) the college which you are applying to or trying to get transfer credit at.


Why are you bumping? @ucbalumnus gave a very good, and definitive, answer.

There is no magic number. Nor is there an expectation from any college that any college courses are needed in HS. Do what makes sense for your situation.

If HS classes are not meeting your needs for rigor, then by all means take college courses. If you’re doing it to be performative, or for the optics of racking up credits, it’s worthless.

Very, very few college students have taken actual college classes. I don’t know where you get the idea that HS students typically earn 70 college credits before going to college. I personally think that’s ridiculous. Some come to college with AP credits or the equivalent. But there’s no magic number that’s necessary or even advisable.

@skieurope I wanted multiple opinions. I agree @ucbalumnus made a great point.

Careful what you wish for. When one keeps bumping for opinions, eventually someone will incorrectly say that if you follow your plan, you are screwed.

Dual enrollment is a mixed bag… in quality and college acceptance. I know many (on this forum) would argue they are rigorous. S took a few at a local community college. His experience was they were far less rigorous than AP classes and even typical honors classes. Some of our area HSs even provide the teaching on campus. I would say his DE experience was a waste of time (although others would disagree).

Re gaining college credit, you need to check with each school. Some do, many don’t. His school gave no credit for any DE class. They did give credit for AP classes with a 4 or 5 depending on subject.

Given the range of college courses that can be taken, the specific course(s) matter. Taking a “college algebra” (usually means precalculus without trigonometry) course is a lot different from taking a multivariable calculus course, for example.

^ I’m sure that’s true. In S’s situation, he took a DE Macro Econ class. He liked it, got an easy A, etc. He had to take intro Macro Econ as a B school prereq in college. They wouldn’t wave the prereqs unless it was an AP class with a 5. The real college version was much more rigorous. Much deeper and far more work. Still did well but definitely a different experience.

He could have waived calculus but chose to take it in college (also a B School prereq ). Same thing. Did well but MUCH more difficult than HS.

College is often (and should be) more rigorous.

Any school that gives graduate level class credit to a HS student is highly suspect.

A I’ve mentioned elsewhere, our HS has DE “College in High School” classes that earn credit at the local CC for Algebra 2, Pre-calculus, 1st year Chemistry and others. They’re basically worthless in transferring to any four year college.

I agree that a school that gives “graduate” and “medical school” classes to a HS student is suspicious. Is this a for-profit “university”?

Piling up “hours” shouldn’t be a goal. Pursuing rigorous coursework when your HS has no more offerings is fine. But they need to be quality.

Try to get an idea on transferability. I plugged in one of our CHS courses - “GEOG 101 - World Geography” and it came back with about 30 schools that would accept credit - Kenai Peninsula College, 7 satellite campuses of U of Alaska Fairbanks, Kodiak College, Prince William Sounds College (It’s big in Alaska!), our local PA regional schools (Slippery Rock, Clarion, Bloomsburg), a few I’m not familiar with (Dixie State, Weber State)). Not really worth the $350 tuition fee.

Be wary.

@RichInPitt That’s interesting that your local HS makes you pay for dual-credit classes at the local CC, as my high school paid for them, they only didn’t pay for dual-credit at four-year universities (which ranged from ~$30-700.)

It’s probably dependent on school funding, I assume, and the state’s overall education budget/state.

I’m of the opinion that, taking courses at a local college, is, more often than not, a waste of time (and money if you have to pay for it). If you’re a top student looking for rigorous courses (if not, why are you taking college courses?), you’re unlikely to be satisfied. Summer courses are the worst, as they generally aren’t taught by regular faculty members. Top private colleges often don’t recognize those courses for a good reason (beyond their own financial incentives).

Depends on the local college and the specific courses. Some students happen to live near their state flagship and have access to sophomore or higher level courses there. Others have access to high quality community colleges with good course transferability to their state flagship. But others have only low quality community colleges or limited-offering four year schools nearby.

I totally agree with your assessment. I have heard of a lot of different setups with dual enrollment classes while talking to friends around the country and my family just happens to reside in an area with a great DE program. My DS ran out of math and computer classes on the high school level and was able to take classes at the local college (an University of Georgia system school which means it would have easily traveled to any school in the system which includes UGA and GT). The DE classes were paid for by the state and the students could have taken up to 60 credit hours before the law changed this past year so that students can now take a max. of 30 credit hours. Dual Enrollment in the right situation can save families a lot of money and gave my DS a large jump into his undergraduate studies as almost all of his DE classes got accepted by the OOS institution that he currently attends.

@Eeyore123 It isn’t like for credit its more for the experience. Its through a small program at a state university. It is like taking the equivalent of 12 credits. Generally those credits expire after 5 years so I couldn’t use them if I wanted.

@RichInPitt I don’t get any credits. It is just the equivalent of 12 credits ~ 4 classes at a state school. The medical school classes are from a T20 medical school and are only for a certificate, but they are apparently the same classes used in the medical school so it is like taking a medical school class, of course I will only be taking a very simple med school class on an easy topic that I have already learned at an undergraduate level so with a lot, a lot of studying I think I should be fine.