Pros and Cons of Earning College Credit During Homeschool High School

Here are pros and cons of earning college credit during homeschool high school.

Pros and Cons of Earning College Credits During High School

Pros and Cons of Earning College Credit During Homeschool High School

Earning college credit during high school is all the rage these days. Public schools, private schools and homeschools are all pushing their juniors and seniors to knock out college credits while still in high school. In recent years as I have served as homeschool academic advisor and coach I have had more and more homeschool parents feeling pressured to get their teens into college classes.

Is it the best thing for homeschool teens to earn college credit during high school? What are the pros and cons of earning college credit during homeschool high school?

Pros:

  • Colleges often give steep discounts to homeschool juniors and seniors taking their classes.
  • It often saves money in the long run to knock out some college courses early.
  • It proves your teen can do college level work.
  • It adds some power to the transcript.
  • If your teen has interests or specialties that they need to develop but have exhausted the homeschool resources, college can supply that need.
  • At some colleges, teens coming in with a few credits can register before those that don’t have credits.
  • If going into a trade, trade classes at the local community college can help your teen graduate ready to work.

Cons:

  • Grades earned in college courses, even in high school, stay with the student through college. If teens are not ready to buckle down and work hard, they might end up lowering their college GPA before they even get to college.
  • Not all credits transfer. This is particularly true with 100 level Composition or Math courses. Check local *transfer-to* colleges to clarify what will transfer.
  • An important part of college is networking with the professors, staff and fellow students. Reference letters, experience/opportunities, connections come out of the college experience. Often teens are not mature enough and/or the teachers feel like their networking energies are more appropriately invested in college-aged students. Teens can feel like “5th wheels”.
  • Teens who are working on college courses sometimes miss the richness of what high school courses can provide. This is particularly true of Language Arts and History courses.
  • Teens with multiple college courses each semester often do not have time to do adolescent-appropriate growth and development. Teens need to try on hats, do new things, be involved in various activities and causes. I’ve worked with some of those teens in my job as a counselor who are feeling lost when they enter college senior year- they feel like they don’t know themselves or what to do with themselves because they missed out on their identity formation years by struggling through tough college classes in high school.

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There’s not one right way to homeschool. Every teen is different. Some teens NEED to get college courses under their belts. For some teens it is a waste of time and money. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pray.
  • Talk with your teens about pros and cons.
  • Visit some college admission officers and ask what they are looking for in incoming freshmen.

Of my 5 kids, 2 took some arts-type courses at the local community college during high school. It was good for them. It would not have been best-fit for my other teens, it would have trashed their activities and busy life schedules.  Two of the non-college-during-high-school kids either have a PhD now or are working on it. The other one is a junior in college and doing just fine.

Click here to see what The College XPress has to say about the pros and cons of taking college courses while still in high school.

For some encouragement and confidence building, you need to take our how-to course for parents. A well-spent $35.

Wondering what to look for and what questions to ask during a college tour? Click here for some great advice!

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Pros and Cons of Earning College Credits During Homeschool High School

Pros and Cons of Earning College Credit During Homeschool High School

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

4 Replies to “Pros and Cons of Earning College Credit During Homeschool High School”

  1. They need to remember too that if they take a lot of college courses during high school, then their status when filling out the FAFSA and applying for scholarships can change and possibly reduce or prohibit them from money that would have been there had they not taken any classes.

    We have found with our 7 kids, 5 are graduated and either gotten degrees, working on it or not even looking at college, that none of them even wanted to take any college while in high school because they wanted to enjoy high school and knew that college would be there when ready. It was our experience and know others are different.

    I do have a friend, whose daughter took several college courses in her last 2 years of high school and then a few months before graduating high school made the decision to take a gap year to do missions. The missions experience had such a profound affect on her that she has choosen not to go to college and continue working with the mission, which is training her and giving her an education she could never have gotten by sitting in a classroom for 4 years. Her mother told me that she will have more experience and knowledge at the end of 2 years than a 4 year degree would have given her.

    • Lisa Joy,

      Thanks for sharing. You’re right about the number of credits earned in high school. For many colleges, if teens earn too many credits before college they will enter college as a transfer student, not a freshman- thus not be eligible for freshmen scholarships.
      As far as teens just wanting to enjoy high school while they are in high school, I’ve had similar experiences with several of my teens. Those teens graduate college and have great jobs. Living life in the present did not hurt them.
      I know several teens who took gap years, too. It gave them time to explore and mature. It was perfect for them
      Just goes to show: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!

  2. Great points! It’s true, college courses in high school isn’t for all students, but some do quite well! It all depends on the individual. Sometimes it’s super helpful to get those prerequisite courses out of the way while in high school, for others, it’s just too much.

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