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### Creative Strategies for Accumulating College Credits During High School

If you’re a high school student, you may consider starting college early by accruing college credits before your college enrollment.

There are several benefits to pursuing this path. It can potentially allow you to bypass certain general education courses in college, provide an advantage if you intend to [ppp1] graduate early, and lead to [ppp2]. Graduating ahead of schedule could result in substantial cost savings as well, eliminating the need to pay for additional tuition for a semester or even a full year.

For high school students exploring ways to earn college credits, here are five options to explore:

1. Advanced Placement® (AP) Exams

Enrolling in AP courses and taking the corresponding exams is a common method of earning college credit in high school. These courses not only prepare students for college-level academics but also offer the opportunity to test out of certain general education requirements in college.

Many high schools provide a variety of AP courses such as AP English, AP Spanish, among others. While there is no cost associated with taking these courses, students are required to pay for the exams needed to obtain college credits. It is essential to note that while most colleges view participation in AP classes favorably, not all institutions accept AP credits. Therefore, it is advisable to research this aspect during your college selection process.

2. College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers 34 exams covering introductory college courses. Achieving a passing score on a CLEP exam makes you eligible to receive college credits at approximately 2,900 colleges and universities in the United States.

Each exam costs $90, in addition to a testing center application fee. Despite these fees, earning college credits through CLEP exams can still result in [ppp3].

For detailed information on available exams and registration procedures, visit the CLEP website.

3. International Baccalaureate® (IB)

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) programs provide high school students with courses that may count towards college credits in certain instances. Students can opt to take IB classes, sit for IB tests, and receive a certificate for a passed course, or enroll in the full IB program, which grants an IB diploma. Similar to AP credits, it is crucial to verify whether your chosen college accepts IB credits.

Dual enrollment involves high school students enrolling in college courses while still in high school. This option allows you to complete college courses—often general education classes, typically at a community college—that count towards both your high school diploma and college credits simultaneously.

5. Summer Classes

Enrolling in summer programs at colleges can also provide an opportunity to earn college credits. These programs offer credit-bearing courses and allow you to gain insight into the college experience. Admission to these programs usually requires an application process.

Final Considerations

Consult your high school counselor for guidance on the most suitable approach to acquiring college credits while in high school. Additionally, ensure that the college you plan to attend accepts these credits. If this aspect is important to you, address relevant inquiries during your college exploration.