Financing Education: How to Get Your High School Diploma and College Credits at the Same Time
The key to your career path can also be a stumbling block: education is expensive. But you can maximize the time and money you spend by consolidating effort. Today, you have the option to apply and receive credits for both high school and college via Dual Credit programs.
Most students typically complete college within four years, but imagine receiving your high school diploma and completing all college prerequisite courses at the same time. You could receive your college degree within 3 years in this kind of program.
Finding Dual Credit Programs
Do your research before enrolling in a Dual Credit program. Look for information about courses, if and how credits are transferable and the course load you will be expected to complete. Common concerns include:
- Are the quality and content rigorous?
- Are high school teachers accredited with teaching college level courses?
- Will all the required credits for prerequisite courses transfer to the student’s college of choice?
At Achieve Virtual Academy, Indiana’s online high school, we hear these questions frequently. Our Dual Credit program is created by Vincennes University staff members, so they are designed to meet college-level standards. The Department of Education recognizes Vincennes University as an accredited school, but make sure to research the university association in the programs you consider, college courses offered and if credits are transferable to a specific college of your choosing on the Core Transfer Library (CTL) site.
How Dual Credit Programs Work
The CTL contains courses that apply toward degree requirements and are transferable, so students should select from this database initially. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education reviews course transfers as well. Courses outside of the CTL or not identified by independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), should be verified with the college. Your guidance counselor should be able to help direct you.
Dual Credit programs can help students earn more college credits by freshman year, which frees up schedules, especially benefitting aspiring NCAA athletes. But students should double check that courses meet NCAA requirements. If you’re not sure about meeting eligibility requirements for NCAA, talk to your guidance counselor.
Some high schools offer free tuition for full-time students enrolled in the Dual Credit programs. Students may be responsible for purchasing books. However, always verifying with a counselor that the student meets the prerequisites for each course as determined by the college of choice. It’s quite possible you can graduate up to a year early. Even if you’re attending college on a full scholarship, you will save time and money with early graduation in the Dual Credit program.
Interested in learning more? Contact us to enroll or discuss questions.