AIEmail

SPOTLIGHT

Are You Getting Academically Prepared for College?


You may have noticed our new featured infographic "8 Steps to College." You can download this as a printable pdf, or just enjoy it online. We'll be referring to this infographic in a number of upcoming AIEmails, but with this installment, we'll elaborate and expand one particular step.

For many of our AIEmail subscribers, Step One (Make up your mind to go to college) is already done, but Step Two (Get good grades in good courses) should still be a high-priority item!

You can get a lot more information about that point here, where AIE has a whole section with detailed advice for getting academically prepared for college.

By way of expanding that advice, though, we ask you to also consider different ways you can earn college credits while still in high school. Pursuing one of more of these approaches now can help you succeed in higher education later. The benefits aren't just academic (by getting a head start on college credits), they're also financial (by getting college credits at reduced rates).

To find out more about this possibility, consider:

  • AP (Advanced Placement) credits are earned by earning high scores on AP tests, usually after taking AP courses. This program is run by the College Board, a well-known organization that also runs the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).
    • AP course availability varies among schools and school districts. Whether students take the tests or not, AP courses offer a great way to improve college readiness. Even if a particular course isn't available through your school, your counselor can give you information about the AP testing in that subject area.
    • AP testing is available on a wide array of subjects ranging from foreign languages to microeconomics and art history. There are 34 subject areas. To see a list of subject areas, as well as to find out about test dates, fees, and other information, go here or ask your counselor for more information.
  • IB (International Baccalaureate) credits are earned by earning high scores on IB tests. IB tests are rarely in a multiple choice format, and the curriculum is built around research, problem-solving, and collaboration.
    • IB course availability varies among schools and school districts. Whether students take the tests or not, IB courses offer a great way to improve college readiness.
    • You can learn more about IB testing here or you can ask your counselor for information about IB courses and IB testing.
  • Dual enrollment credits are earned by taking courses at a local college, often a community college, while also enrolled in high school. Your guidance counselor can tell you more about the availability of dual enrollment. These kinds of programs vary greatly from district to district. Find out what opportunities are available to you.
  • Concurrent enrollment credits can be earned by taking high school courses that count for both high school and college. Sometimes called "articulated courses," these courses are often taught by high school teachers on the high school campus. These kinds of programs vary greatly from school to school and from district to district. To find out what opportunities are available, talk to your counselor.
  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program) credits are earned by demonstrating subject matter proficiency in an examination. This program is run by the College Board, a well-known organization that also runs the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), and states that it is the most widely-accepted way to get credit by examination. You can learn more about how to register for the 33 CLEP exams that can lead to college credit here.