Can You Take College Classes in High School?

Can You Take College Classes in High School

Many people who are preparing for college tend to start early on in their high school careers. College-bound students take advanced classes so they can work up to college classes in high school.

There are students that get involved in their community, they study for the ACT or SAT and work to get a high GPA. These are the things that high school students must worry about in order to go to their top colleges.

I personally started taking classes in 7th grade that were advanced and then allowed me to have time and the opportunity in my high school classes to take college classes.

It is kind of crazy how early you may need to start thinking about your grades and advanced classes.

Students normally apply for colleges early in their senior year.

The colleges you apply to are only seeing your grades, classes, and involvement from freshman to your junior year. Getting into college now is different than our parents’ generation, there is much more planning. 

Even when my older brother was in school, he did not have any type of opportunity to take any college classes other than AP credit classes.

This world of preparing for college in high school by taking college classes is new to a lot of people including the teachers, principals, and students. It is always a good idea to talk to your counselor, principal, adviser, and college-level teachers. You need to them ask questions about what to take and when to take the advanced classes.

You will also want to talk to some current students who are at school or maybe some current students who are in college that attended your high school. Although there are really no right answers as to what you should do in retrospect to college classes and what universities you want to attend, I hope that my steps below at least help you understand the benefits.

Can you take College Classes Online while in High School?

The answer to this question is yes. Yes, you can take college classes online in high school. However, there are a lot of factors that go into play when it comes to this type of college class.

First, there are only a certain number of schools that are going to offer online college classes. You have to ask your specific high school counselor or principal what kind of opportunities you have at your high school.

If online college classes are not offered through your high school then you can ask if you are allowed to take online classes through a community college.

The tricky part is these classes are supposed to count as high school credit for your high school diploma and college credit for when you transfer into a university after high school graduation.

I graduated high school with 30 college credits. I was only able to take one class that was online. This means that out of my 30 college credits that I received in high school, only four of them were coming from an online class.

The only reason that I ended up having an online class was that the professor that was supposed to come to our high school and teach it stopped working at the University. Because of this, we were then able to just take the online version of the class.

My understanding of the schools around me, high schools are pushing you to take in-person classes over online classes. That does not mean that they won’t offer you any online classes but I would not count on them. 

AP Classes Vs. CCP Classes?

The two main types of classes that you are going to take in high school that will give you college credit are AP classes and CCP classes.

AP Classes

AP classes are classes that stand for advanced placement classes. Usually, the students who take these classes have been taking advanced classes since middle school.

You must be accepted into the class to take an AP class. Normally, not any person can just sign up for it.

Each school has different criteria, in some schools teachers may choose while other schools have students apply to get into the classes.

A major fact with AP classes is that if you do not pass the AP test you will not receive college credit. The AP test is out of five points. A five is a perfect score and then a three and four are both passing scores as well. One and two are both failing scores. This means that even if you took the class for the entire semester, and worked hard if you do not get at least a three you are not getting college credit. 

You better get a 3 or higher.

Each college can also pick and choose what scores they want to except. One of my situations, I had an AP math class that I would only get college credit if I got a four on the AP test. Unfortunately for me, I got a three so even though I technically passed the class and should have received college credit, I did not.

AP classes can be a great thing and they are also very challenging. There is a chance that you could put in all that work only to end up not actually receiving any college credit. I only took two AP classes in high school and it was for Calculus 1 and 2. It was a lot of work and then I ended up not getting credit for one of them.

This is my personal experience, but other people have had many great experiences where all their AP classes transferred. The one upside of taking AP classes is they usually transfer to most colleges in the United States.

CCP Classes

CCP classes stand for college credit plus classes. Basically, the entire reason that these classes were invented was so that you could get college credit and high school credit in the same class.

This allows you to get your high school diploma while working on your college degree for free. You will be taking these college classes entirely for free. When a school signs up to have CCP programs, this would mean that each student will take the class and receive the books for free.

This is a great thing to do because you are starting to earn college credit while saving money at the same time. If I did not take on a minor and other program in college, I would have graduated an entire year early. This was all due to the college credit plus classes that I was able to take while in high school.

Every high school is going to offer a plethora of completely different classes. It is usually up to the school board and the county superintendent where you live on what is offered.

This is something that you should look into and that you can start doing as soon as you are in high school. Once again this depends on what your school offers and allows you to do.

Start asking your counselors and teachers as soon as possible about these programs. There’s also a website called Transferology that can help with what classes to take. The site would give you the opportunity to type in the class that you were taking and what college you were taking it through to see how likely it is that it would transfer to a different university. You can type these classes into your top universities and see if they will transfer.

What are the Benefits?

The main benefits of taking college classes in high school are going to be time, money, and preparation. Depending on how many classes you take you could be saving yourself and your family a lot of time and money.

It takes many students more than four years to graduate college. Only 36% of college students in the United States graduate in four years.

This means that you’re giving yourself the opportunity to get ahead of the game and hopefully graduate in four years. taking all the classes that you need to graduate and that you want to further your own knowledge and intelligence.

The other main benefit is going to be the preparation. College classes are on such a different level than high school classes. You can spend a total of 30 hours studying for a college final and still get 70% on it.

The commitment that I have put towards my education since attending college is so much deeper than it was in high school. I spend most of my days dedicating myself to my schoolwork, education, and involvement in other organizations in the college.

In order to best prepare yourself for the type of work that you’re going to be needing to do in college, taking college-level classes is a great way to start. Even if they’re a little bit easier than the classes you’re going to be taking at the University you picked.

During one of my college-level classes in high school, I had to write a 10-page research paper. I remember thinking how this paper was three times the number of pages I had ever had to right before. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do it. Now I have projects like that all the time and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to start working on projects like that in high school.

Are there any Negatives to Taking a College Class while in High School?

The only downside to taking college classes in high school is going to be the workload. You are still not going to be at the actual level of a college student by taking CCP classes in high school. However, you are going to be putting in more work than you would be in a normal high school class.

Choosing college-level classes is going to be up to each individual person and what else is going on in your life. If you are working a lot of hours and spending a lot of hours at rehearsals or practices, make sure to put that into consideration as well.

The only other negative of taking college-level classes is that maybe it will show you that you are not as prepared for college as you think. College is not for everyone and the classes are very hard compared to high school classes.

If anything, maybe these college classes will show you that you want to take a different path then going to college. The other option is you just simply need to work harder in order to obtain a college degree in the career that you want.


Overall, there are many different aspects that go into taking college-level classes. The best thing that you can do is talk to your principal, counselor, teachers, and parents to see what the best option is for you. All of the people around you just want you to succeed and end up in the career that you want whether that means going to college or not.

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