high school students

Plan a Strategic Summer: Get a Head Start with College for High School Students

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When most high school students picture their summer, they think about things like sleeping in as late as they want or going to the movies in the middle of the day. They crave beach days and lazy afternoons, not morning alarms and more schoolwork.

But, a little bit of summer school work can go a long way! It’s worth exploring the summer college for high school students programs available whether your teen is an incoming freshman or graduating senior.  

Here are four ways your not-so-little one can set themselves up for collegiate success this summer. 

1. Sign Up for Dual Enrollment Summer Courses 

Dual enrollment classes are arguably the best way for high schoolers to get a feel for college courses. With this kind of college prep, high schoolers can take real college courses offered by real college professors, alongside real college students. 

These courses are not simplified for high schoolers or made to go at their pace. Rather, high schoolers in dual enrollment are expected to perform at the college level. Additionally, because they are taking summer courses, the speed of the classes is much faster than regular college courses. 

This can make summer dual enrollment twice the challenge for high schoolers. But, those who are up for the task enjoy twice the reward! High schoolers who sign up for dual enrollment summer classes and pass their courses can go into their upcoming school year with the confidence and know-how to excel.

2. Spend the Summer Preparing for AP and IB Classes

Another way your teen can utilize the summer to get a head start on college is to focus on getting a head start on their AP and/or IB high school courses. 

AP stands for Advanced Placement, and IB stands for International Baccalaureate. They each have their pros and cons, explained in detail in this guide. To get a basic understanding of these programs, here are some key points: 

  • Both AP and IB courses are intensive – they require more work than standard high school courses
  • One AP course is transferrable to one college course
  • AP courses are at the discretion of each university as to how they will account toward collegiate degrees
  • IB courses are taken as part of a full curriculum to earn an IB diploma
  • The International Baccalaureate Diploma is recognized by many higher education institutions around the world

In addition to these points, it’s worth considering the structure of AP versus IB and how each course is accounted for in a high school GPA. Be sure to discuss all aspects of these programs with your child and their counselor before making a decision on which to enroll them in.

3. Take Online Courses for Transferable College Credits

As well known as AP and IB courses are, they’re not the only courses students can take to earn college credit. In fact, these are just the tip of the iceberg! There are all kinds of programs available for high school students to get a head start on college

Some are recognized nation-wide for base-level courses like college math or sciences. Others are more specialized and apply to specific majors and career paths. 

But, one thing is true about all of them: your child can’t take advantage of these courses if they’re not aware of the opportunities available! Summer is the perfect time to start comparing different courses and to dive into a few classes online. 

By opting for an online learning environment, high school students can enjoy the flexibility to take part in their favorite summer activities and still get their work done. Plus, they’ll be learning a lot about self-discipline, hard work, and their preferred study habits along the way. 

4. Go to Summer Leadership Camps and Institutes

While some high school students thrive in an online learning setting, others perform better when they learn amongst their peers. This is just one reason why it’s excellent for high school students to spend part of their summer at a leadership camp or institute. 

These programs are designed to push young learners to be their very best – both in high school and in college. They combine high-level learning and college preparation with fun, a sense of community, and a bit of adventure. Leadership programs occur all over the country, and there are even some international options available. 

What matters most is that your child attends a camp that’s right for them. Take your time in going through all the invites they may have gotten or programs they want to apply for.

Also, keep in mind that many of these summer programs have deadlines much earlier in the year. You’ll have to plan ahead if you want your child to be involved in this kind of college preparation. 

College for High School Students Made Simple

There are many ways for high school students to start earning college credits during the regular school year and in the summer. These credits come in all kinds of learning styles and various programs, so it can be a bit of a challenge to choose the right one. 

That’s why the best way to start preparing your high school student for college is to take a step back and prepare them for the pre-college program they’re about to enter.

Instead of focusing so much on college, focus on the needs of your child right now. Talk to them about the college for high school students programs they’re interested in and make sure they know you want to support them every step of the way. 

The rest will work itself out, no matter what program your child chooses. 

For more higher ed tips and insights, click here


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