5 ways to earn college credit in high school, according to data

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The cost of a college education continues to climb higher each year, but there are ways that high school students are earning some college-level credits to ease that burden before they start their undergraduate career.

EDsmart outlined five kinds of college credits high school students can earn before starting college, which was then examined by data journalism website Stacker. They range from taking Advanced Placement classes, summer school programs and other college-level courses taken during the regular school year.

The number of high school students taking college courses for credit jumped 68% between the 2002-2003 and 2010-2011 school years, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Stacker reported.

Here are five ways high school students can earn college credits, according to Stacker and EDsmart.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT

According to Stacker, many colleges will award college credit if you receive a high score on an Advanced Placement exam. Each school chooses what it accepts as a qualifying score to earn college credit. Ranging from 1-5, some schools will only accept 5s, others will accept 4s and 5s, while others will accept a 3 in some cases.

Earning the credit allows students to earn a spot in a more advanced class or skip an introductory class — earning college credit.

Students can check the College Board website for policies at individual schools and for public schools in each state, Stacker suggested.

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program was registered in Switzerland in the 1960s on a recommendation from teachers affiliated with the International Schools Association, according to Stacker. And the first official diploma program exams were taken by students at 12 schools from 10 countries in 1970.

Colleges offer credit for the IB diploma and for individual classes students. The amount of credit depends on the score and the individual colleges and universities willing to accept the diploma.

Some schools only accept higher-level exams, but others consider standard-level exams, Stacker noted.

DUAL ENROLLMENT

This means there is typically a partnership between a high school or school district and a local community college or university.

In dual enrollment, students in high school have the opportunity to take college-level courses and earn credit. This typically counts for both levels at high school and college.

These courses can be taught at the college campus, by a visiting college professor in a high school, or by a high school teacher who can teach the college-level course. There is also online instruction.

The number of credits a student can earn varies on the course and the college that will offer the credits.

COLLEGE-LEVEL EXAMINATION PROGRAM

Under this program, students can earn credit for intro-level college classes by getting a passing score on an exam — choosing from 34 exams. Topics range from history, literature, languages and sciences.

According to Stacker, more than 2,900 colleges and universities participate in the program.

Exams cost $89, plus the test center’s administration fee.

SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAM

Some colleges and universities offer summer programs to high school students to earn college credit.

They typically focus on a variety of subjects, but emphasize a particular area, like the sciences or performing arts, Stacker said. Some classes are also part of the regular summer curriculum, so high school students can attend classes with other undergraduate students.

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