You can get a jump start on earning college credits in high school by taking college-level courses, like Advanced Placement courses, or in some communities, courses at local colleges or universities that are open to qualified high school students. The advantages of taking college-level courses in high school are that they can save you time and money and prepare you for the more advanced work you'll encounter once you are in college.

AP Courses

Taking AP courses in high school provides motivated students with three main benefits: the opportunity to tackle college-level coursework and delve deeply into a subject area while still in high school; the chance to earn credits that will later apply to college course placement or degree requirements, through taking AP exams; and evidence of their readiness to do college-level work when it comes time for the college admissions process. At the time of publication, AP courses and exams are available in 34 subject areas, but not all high schools offer AP courses and not all colleges and universities accept AP credits. Students should check with their guidance counselors as part of their exploration into taking these courses. The College Board's website provides complete information on how to enroll in AP courses and register for the exams.

Courses at Colleges or Universities

Often, a community college or university will open certain introductory-level courses to qualified high school students. Students who feel ready to take on more challenging work should talk to their teachers and guidance counselors about available options at local institutions. Students can apply credits they earn in such courses to a degree if they go on to matriculate at a college or university. When it comes to college applications, previous college course experience shows that a student can handle higher-level material, boosting her chances for admission.

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