If you are a high school student that’s considering pursuing a higher education online because you more or less already know you’ll need more flexibility post graduation—for instance maybe you have a child or you’re expecting, maybe you are aware you’ll need a fulltime job to support yourself, or maybe you will be doing a lot of traveling—it’s great that you are already worrying about your future. But while online schooling may be more convenient for some, that doesn’t mean that it’s any cheaper than a traditional college. In fact, it can be even more expensive, depending on which institution you enroll in. But did you know that you can start cutting online college cost now while just in high school? Continue reading to learn how.
The easiest way to save money is to earn college credit while in high school. There are several ways to go about this. The first is to start taking Advance Placement Exams as early as your junior year in high school. There are more than 30 subjects you can get tested on ranging anywhere from history, English, foreign languages and any of the hard sciences. You’ll have to pay a small fee to take the test, but if you make adequate scores you can test out of lower division college courses. Some students pass so many exams and earn so many credits that they technically start as "sophomores" their first year in college. You can even get the testing fee waived if you qualify which means that if you make adequate scores, technically you earned that credit entirely free. That’s a whole online class that you earned fair and square without having to pay a penny. Unfortunately not all of the colleges participate, but a whopping 90 percent do. Most students choose to enroll in both pre-advanced and advanced classes throughout high school so that they are better prepared for the advance placement exams. But even if you don’t make adequate scores and can’t claim credit, you will be eligible for a higher GPA since AP classes are graded on a 5.0 not a 4.0 GPA scale and you will be better prepared to tackle real college courses.
Another way you can claim college credit while still in high school is to enroll in dual credit courses. Just about all high schools offer these programs so that students can concurrently enroll in courses that count towards their high school diploma and their college degree. The classes are taught at the high school so it’s really convenient for you since you don’t have to drive to the nearest community college every morning. Some programs require students to pay a fee to take a dual credit course. Prices vary but are always cheaper than when registering as an actual college student. However, most dual credit courses are covered entirely by the school district, so you may actually get the opportunity earn some college credit for free. Ask your high school about their dual credit program. Please be aware that there will most likely be a application and an interview before you can be considered for dual credit.