Summer school is not to be confused with dual enrollment. Often, colleges have specific courses that they allow for dual enrollment and a formalized application process. This is not generally the case with summer school. Many colleges, even Harvard University, will allow high school students the opportunity to enroll for summer school on campus, online, or through study abroad separate and apart from any dual enrollment program. Many times, the summer session is an “open enrollment” period, where students can enroll with little to no application red tape.
Like dual-enrollment, graded credits are recorded on an official transcript, and poor grades have to be disclosed on future college applications. That said, summer school is a wonderful opportunity to earn 3 or more credits for future use. Most summer school programs range from 5–8 weeks so that they can be a faster pace than a traditional 16-week semester. For this reason, it may be best to limit your courses to 1 or 2. For overseas experience, you are generally limited to only that course.
For any summer program you’re considering, there are 4 important things to check in advance:
- Confirm that the college / university is regionally accredited.
- Confirm that the course(s) are worth college credit issued by the college and are recorded on an official college transcript. Don’t assume this is true. Sometimes the college credit is issued by a third party (American Council Education) and they hold the record. In cases like that, the credit isn’t as likely to transfer to your future target college.
- What happens if your teen doesn’t pass?
- What is included in the program cost, and what costs are extra?
This content is reprinted from Chapter 2 of Homeschooling for College Credit 2nd Edition.