How Do College Credits Work In High School?

Students standing on top a quote stating "If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants." - Sir Isaac Newton

There are a variety of ways for students to begin earning college credits while still in high school, and there are plenty of benefits to doing so. The following is an overview of how college credits work in high school and some of the most common questions that parents and students have about them.

What Are The Benefits Of Pursuing College Credits In High School?

By pursuing college credits while still in high school, students give themselves a head start when they begin college. The more credits a student accrues in high school, the higher chance they have of being admitted to the college of their choice. Also, by taking on the extra challenge of earning college credits while still in high school, students can learn valuable life skills that will prepare them for their life ahead. Since the added challenge of pursuing college credits is something students must juggle alongside their normal high school classes, they will need to adopt more disciplined planning and time management habits while managing work-life balance.

How Many College Credits Can You Earn In High School?

It’s possible for a student to earn as many as 120 college credit hours before they graduate high school. However, this number is quite extreme and isn’t typical. To accrue as many college credits as possible and have the biggest head-start going into college, it’s recommended for students to take on as many AP classes as they can without getting overwhelmed. The reason for this is that the best colleges, such as Ivy League colleges, often require you to score well on at least 3 to 5 AP classes. While less selective schools require 2 to 3.

Ways To Earn College Credits In High School

There are a variety of ways to earn college credits in high school, including:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program
  • Dual enrollment
  • Summer or winter study programs


Benefits of AP Classes

One of the best ways for high school students to earn college credits is by getting good scores in their Advanced Placement (AP) class exams. AP classes are designed to give students an entry-level college experience while they’re still in high school, and the scores they get in these classes can play a significant role in whether they qualify for the college of their choice after graduation. Most colleges will give credits for AP exam scores of 4 or 5, and less rigorous ones may accept a score of 3, but generally not lower than that. AP classes are an important part of a high school student’s curriculum, and students who want to have the most options after graduation are advised to take them seriously and study hard for them.

Earning College Credit At The Vanguard School

The Vanguard School offers as many as 15 AP class courses every year on a wide variety of subjects, allowing students to earn college credits and prepare for life after graduation. To see a list of AP classes that The Vanguard School offers, visit our High School Curriculum page.

Sign Up For AP Courses At The Vanguard School

For students and parents who have additional questions about earning college credits at The Vanguard School, give us a call at (719) 471-1999 x200. We will answer any additional questions you might have and provide you with everything you need to know about earning college credits at The Vanguard School.

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