Can I Enroll in Online College While Still Completing High School?

So you’re wondering whether you can enroll in online college while still completing high school. As it turns out, you can, and it’s actually not a bad idea. There are a number of benefits to taking online college classes as a high school student. Let’s take a look at a few.

Find Out Whether You’re Ready for College

Online courses are a good “practice run” to find out ahead of time what college classes are really like. Often, new college students are caught off guard and unprepared when it comes to just how much work is required for college courses. By enrolling in online college while still completing high school, you’ll be more confident when you actually head off to university. For those who may feel that they’re not ready for college-level work, you can choose to take a remediation or preparatory course to review some of the things you may need to brush up on. For example, if math isn’t your strong suit and it’s been a couple years since you took algebra, a prep class can help you to be ready for your next level required math course.

Save Money on College

There are dual-credit programs that allow high school students to earn both college and high school credits at the same time. In fact, all but four states offer some sort of dual-credit program. These programs are often free, so it makes sense to take advantage of them. Another money-saving strategy is to take online credits through a community college, which is usually much cheaper than a four-year school, while still in high school and before going off to a pricier university. Community college credits can normally be transferred to your four-year school of choice.

Make a Good Impression

Doing well in your online college classes while still a high school student is an excellent way to make an impression on college admission officials. Earning a good grade in a college-level course will show that you are capable of completing the work. Even if your grade wasn’t what you hoped, you can still emphasize the fact that you took the initiative to take on a challenge and that you did your best, emphasizing what you learned from the experience. A positive experience in your college coursework may be what gets you the admissions acceptance you were hoping for when competition is high.

Some Things to Consider

There are some things you should know before signing up for that college class while still in high school. If you do take a class and don’t perform well, that grade will be on your transcript and you may not be able to explain yourself. In addition, online coursework isn’t as easy as you might think. It requires you to be self-directed and to have strong reading comprehension skills so that you can understand the course material. While you can email your professor to ask questions, he or she may not be able to get back to you right away, and there is no one there to make sure you’re staying on track. It’s also important to keep in mind that not all classes are transferable to all schools. Talk to an adviser or guidance counselor beforehand to get the best advice.

Pursuing online college while still completing high school has numerous advantages. Just take the time to research your options and choose wisely.

Related: The Evolution of the College Degree