Benefits of Online College Courses for High School Students


Did you know that there are online college courses for high school students? This means that while you are still in high school, you can challenge yourself and get a head start on earning college credits.


Many students take Advanced Placement (AP) courses or attend community college after school hours to work towards their college degree before they even enroll. However, with online college courses, you can do this from the comfort of your own home and on your own terms.


You may be wondering why you’d want to start college before you have to, but by taking online college courses before you graduate high school, you can benefit greatly in a multitude of ways. Let’s take a look at why you might want to consider doing so.



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A List of Benefits


1. Costs:


If you take college courses while you’re still in high school, they can transfer over to your college of choice once you enroll. Since colleges work such that you have to finish a set number of courses and college credits to graduate, you will be ahead. In this case, you will lower the number of courses that you need to take at the college institution, and therefore, you can save money and time!



2. Prepare for College:


College courses online offer you a taste of what college-level curriculum is like. So, when you start early, you can be more prepared for what to expect. Additionally, if there are certain subjects like writing or math that you may need extra support in, you can take an online college course to learn more while you’re still in high school.



3. Explore Different Courses:


Not all high schools may offer the type of coursework you are interested in. Thus, online college courses can offer you a platform to study and learn about topics you want to while still having the support of a classroom-like setting and guided material.



4. Make Good Use of Time:


Perhaps you already feel somewhat overwhelmed by your high school coursework. You don’t have to take college courses concurrently. Instead, during your breaks, such as the few months you likely have off for summer, you can make good use of your time by taking a college course online as it will benefit your future.



5. Make New Friends:


Online courses allow you to communicate through forums and various methods of digital communication with other classmates. You can also always contact your peers and set up in-person meetings, if you’d like. Therefore, you have the opportunity to make new friends and connect with people outside of your geographical borders.



6. Self-Discovery:


By taking college courses online, you can discover a few different things. For starters, you can assess how you like taking classes online. Perhaps online school is a better environment for you, in which case, you can also consider attending college online upon high school graduation. Furthermore, you can take courses that you otherwise would not have had access to and learn more about what interests you.



7. Online Versus Traditional:


Online programs offer many benefits over their traditional counterparts. We will address them more later, but for starters, the flexibility of an online program is key. Since courses require an internet connection and a laptop, they can, in essence, be taken from anywhere and at any time.



Resources and Courses

Does it sound all too good to be true? Well, it isn’t! It gets better.


You can even take free online college courses from well-known universities around the world. For example, Johns Hopkins offers free online courses for high school students in advanced subjects like Engineering and Computer Science. Harvard, Cal Tech, and MIT offer free courses as well.


Other websites like Coursera also offer Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), but it’s important to find out what kind of courses will transfer to your college of choice by contacting them directly before you take units online.



What’s Next?

Upon high school graduation, you can either enter the workforce straight away or pursue your higher education. If you’ve taken online college courses, it’s likely that you want to attend college. In such case, you have the option to do so online or at a traditional college campus.


There are many accredited and quality education institutions that exist solely online. For example, University of the People is an entirely online and tuition-free university that offers four degree-granting programs in various subjects, including: Health Science, Computer Science, Business Administration and Education.


University of the People allows for transfer credits to be used towards earning one’s degree. College credits don’t expire, so no matter when you earned your units, you can likely transfer your credits if they adhere to three main criteria: relevancy, recency and reputation. That means that the courses you took must be relevant to the degree or core curriculum in which you are going to pursue. Generally, recency includes the last 10 years, give or take (depending on the type of coursework), and reputation concerns the accreditation status of where you took your courses.


At University of the People, transferring credits is made to be simple. As an applicant or currently enrolled students, you can apply to transfer previously earned units from an accredited U.S. or international institution. UoPeople will allow you to transfer up to 50% of units towards your degree, and in some instances, you may be allowed to transfer as much as 75% of your required coursework. You can simply use the online portal to send over the transcripts or documentation to University of the People’s Office of Transfer Credit. If you have any questions regarding the matter, you can always contact the university directly and ask away!



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The Importance of a College Education

Although there are many jobs and career paths that become available with just a high school diploma, a college degree opens up the doors to many more possibilities, as well as higher level positions, and in turn, better paying employment options.


Not only will a college education award you with an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree (depending on your level of study), but it will also prepare you professionally and personally by teaching lifelong skills. For example, especially when you attend school online, time management becomes a major asset. In knowing time management skills, you will work more efficiently while in school, and also when you start a job. Furthermore, time management skills will help you in life to balance personal relationships, your career, family responsibilities, leisure time and more.


The skill set doesn’t stop there. Colleges help to hone communication and presentation skills, analytical and critical thinking ability, problem-solving methods and more. They present you with an opportunity to connect to people around the world and try your hand at challenging coursework that will help you to master your subject of choice.



The Bottom Line

By attending online college courses while still in high school, you are only benefiting yourself early by saving both time and money in the long run. Additionally, you can expose yourself to subject matter and discover new topics that you may like or dislike, which will help you narrow down your course selection (especially electives) when you choose to start college.


The benefits of education online include: a lower cost solution to a traditional institution; the flexibility of learning whenever and wherever you want; the opportunity to connect with students around the world; and the platform to continue raising a family, working or taking care of preexisting responsibilities while earning your degree.





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