5 Reasons to Take Online College Courses While in High School
There are many benefits to enrolling your homeschooling student in online college courses. Not only do they allow your student to benefit from earning college credit as you start thinking about college, you can also help prepare your child academically for the rigor of college — and save on tuition — before your student enrolls in any degree program.
In the homeschooling environment, you may have the ability to access Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate curricula, which could lead to college credit, but what if there was a way to easily access online college courses before actually enrolling in college? Taking such courses during the high school years can help set academic expectations for college-level work, develop time management skills in a relatively low-risk environment, and will likely save thousands of dollars on the total cost of college. It’s possible for you and your student to explore this option sooner than later.
Are you curious about how this works? Let’s start by looking at the top five benefits of taking online college courses:
- Save money on college. The average cost of one year of college (tuition and fees) at a private nonprofit 4-year college is $34,740 and $9,970 (in-state) at a public 4-year institution.[i] If this worries you, you don’t have to pay very much money for online courses taken outside of a degree program, and when your student starts college, they get transfer credit for the courses they’ve already taken. StraighterLine courses, for example, start at $59 with a $99 monthly membership. The way online courses are priced is helpful for families trying to budget. You know exactly what you’re paying for — no hidden costs — and you can often get extras, like eTextbooks for free.
- Avoid crowded lecture halls. If your student has a good idea of what college major they intend to pursue, some basic research will help you determine the common introductory courses required for that major at the school they are considering. Give the school’s registrar a call and ask about program requirements and request a copy of their catalog. Once you know the general education courses you need, you can start those courses online and earn college credit immediately. When your student earns credit for their degree program prior to enrollment, they can start taking more advanced (and interesting) courses once they are admitted – bypassing lecture halls where first-year students are often crammed with hundreds of others looking to get their general education courses out of the way.
Note: if you’re concerned about credit transfer, check out your school’s transfer credit policies. Most institutions list the schools they accept credits from on their website (articulation agreements), or you may speak with the school’s registrar directly about transfer credit policies. For example, many online courses at StraighterLine are guaranteed to transfer for credit at over 130 partner colleges and are eligible for ACE Credit recommendations. The ACE College and University Network has more than 2,000 institutions that recognize and consider ACE credit recommendations for credit transfer.
- Get a head start on a college degree. When your student completes introductory credit-bearing courses before enrolling in college, they can accelerate the completion of their degree. Typically, a full-time undergraduate completes 12 credits per semester, which would be equal to taking 4 three-credit courses online. By completing a semester or even a year’s worth of courses ahead of time, your student can graduate in less time – even a year or more early!
- There are no admission or age requirements. If your student finds admission essays, GPAs or standardized test scores stressful, you’ll be glad to hear that, unlike the majority of college degree programs, there are no admission prerequisites or age requirements when you enroll in certain online college courses. No matter the age of your student, they can enroll in a StraighterLine course and earn transferable college credit at an affordable price.
- Enjoy a low-risk environment. With affordable, self-paced online courses, your student can take as long–or as little–time as they need to work through course material. Students take quizzes and exams when they feel ready, on their schedule. Because of their flexibility, these courses may be a good way to measure whether your student is ready for college without breaking the bank.
If your student starts a course and realizes it’s not going to work, they can enroll in a different course that may be more appropriate for their learning style without wasting a semester’s worth of time and money. And, if upon completion of a course, your student has not achieved a satisfactory score, your student may retake their course by repurchasing.
Online classes offer a low-risk way to introduce college-level courses and prepare your student academically for further work toward a college degree. When your student approaches college admissions with college-level coursework already on their transcript, they’ll have a leg up, having already proven they have what it takes to successfully complete college courses.
Online classes are not new, but the way StraigherLine provides students access to low-cost, high quality, college-level material that can give them a head start on earning credit for their college degree is new and different. To earn college credit with StraighterLine, visit our website. Get an exclusive $50 off for homeschool students, use promo code HOMESCHOOLSL50 at checkout for your first course Visit our site or give us a call today with your questions at (844) 357-5221. We look forward to working with you!
[i] College Data: https://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064