Posted in Dual Enrollment, High School, Uncategorized

Are 4 college classes too many?

If you’re using dual enrollment in high school, you’re probably faced with the problem of figuring out how many college credits vs high school credits your teen can balance and still pull good grades.  This is no small problem because college classes leave a paper trail!  In short- it’s part of their permanent record.

My sons can’t handle many more than 4 classes at a time (homeschool or college) without being stretched too thin, so I’ve used this little scheduling trick to help them from becoming over-loaded but still taking advantage of earning about 30-45 college credits per year in high school.

Understanding College Lingo

Taking 12-15 credits is considered “full-time” in college lingo.  That amounts to 4-5 classes, and for young students, that course load is really heavy (let’s be honest, it’s heavy for MOST students of any age).

Earning college credit in high school either buys you a lighter schedule in the future, or a shorter path toward a degree – both amazing opportunities.

  • If your student takes 12 credits per full semester (Fall / Spring) it will take 10 full semesters to complete a bachelor’s degree (5 years).
  • If your student takes 15 credits per full semester (Fall / Spring) it will take 8 full semesters to complete a bachelor’s degree (4 years).
  • Your teen can add extra credit by homeschooling for college credit in high school through dual enrollment, summer sessions, CLEP, and AP exams.

If your community college is typical, their courses will last for 16 weeks in a full semester.   In this case, 2 homeschool classes and 2 college classes might look like this:

Semester 1

 

Semester 2

 

period 1 High School Class

Spanish 1

High School Class

Spanish 1

period 2 High School Class

Piano 1

High School Class

Piano 1

period 3 College Class

English 1

College Class

English 2

period 4 College Class

Amer. Govt.

College Class

Psychology

There’s nothing wrong with this schedule! It’s a normal approach, and earning 12 college credits in a year is an accomplishment!!!  This sample student is earning dual enrollment credit for 4 courses this year, so remember to award them high school credit for each college class too!

  • 12 college credits (4 courses)
  • 6 high school credits
    • 1 high school credit in Spanish
    • 1 high school credit in Piano
    • 2 high school credits in English (3 college credits = 1 high school credit)
    • 1 high school credit in American Government
    • 1 high school credit in Psychology

Now…. let’s resourcefully plan

A newer option is to offer 8-week sessions in addition to the 16-week sessions. If you’ve noticed these at your teen’s college, I want to show you how they can fill a schedule without requiring more sessions per day.

While it seems like these shorter classes “should” be double the work or twice as fast, that’s not been our experience. My very average sons were able to manage 8-week sessions at multiple colleges in dozens of classes and still earn A’s and B’s with average effort. Still, I always knew that I could slow down or stop our homeschool classes if necessary.  It’s not a bad idea to have a plan in place like we did…just incase.

This schedule makes the most of your student’s time (still 4 periods) but they’ll earn a lot more high school & college credit!

Semester 1

First 8 weeks

Semester 1

Second 8 weeks

Semester 2

First 8 weeks

Semester 2

Second 8 weeks

period 1 High School Spanish 1 High School Spanish 1 High School Spanish 1 High School Spanish 1
period 2 High School Piano 1 High School Piano 1 High School Piano 1 High School Piano 1
period 3 College Class English 1 College Class English 2 College Class American Lit College Class English Lit
period 4 College Class

Amer. Govt.

College Class

Psychology

College Class

US History 1

College Class

US History 2

  • 24 college credits (8 courses)
  • 10 high school credits
    • 1 high school credit in Spanish
    • 1 high school credit in Piano
    • 2 high school credits in English (3 college credits = 1 high school credit)
    • 2 high school credits in Literature
    • 1 high school credit in American Government
    • 1 high school credit in Psychology
    • 2 high school credits in US History

If your teen has access to free or reduced tuition for dual enrollment, you only have a few years to take advantage of that savings- so a simple schedule adjustment can make a big difference to your budget, and it just takes a little resourceful planning.

lady

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Author:

Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit

5 thoughts on “Are 4 college classes too many?

  1. Hi! My name is Luz Orozco. A have a question…… A 9 grader high school can start taking college classes ? Thanks for the information you provide .

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    1. hello Luz. I do not know any colleges that openly allow all 9th graders, but I know families that have asked for special permission. It is most common for colleges to allow 11 and 12th grade students to take college classes. I have 2 recommendations.
      (1) Visit the homepage here and look down the list, you can find your state’s Facebook group. I would recommend you ask in your state group if any other parents have successfully enrolled 9th graders in your community. (2) Call, email, or visit your nearest community college and ask them if they allow 9th graders to enroll. If they say no, ask if there is a way for you to challenge their decision. Sometimes providing test scores or evidence of academic readiness is all you need. Please let me know how your search goes and feel free to message me anytime. -Jennifer

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  2. Under the Federal Age Discrimination Act of 1975, federally funded schooled cannot discriminate based on age. If the student qualifies in all other manners (Accuplacer results, pre-req’s taken, etc.) then the school CANNOT tell you the student isn’t allowed based solely on age. This issue has been taken to the Dept of Ed Office of Civil Rights before and in all cases I know of, has been decided in favor of the student based on the federal non-discrimination rules. Colleges who receive no federal funding can do whatever they want, but federally funded schools cannot deny access to higher education based on a physical characteristic or disability over which a student has no control 🙂 One example of a previous case: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-young-college-student-20120217-story.html

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    1. The issue is that every community college (to my knowledge) requires a high school diploma for admission into a degree program. Dual enrollment is a “work-around” that allows our high school students to participate. If you are an adult without a high school diploma, this applies to them too, and the CC has programs in place to help an adult earn their GED / simpilar so they are qualified. This isn’t an issue of age specifically, it’s an issue of having a high school diploma. Dual enrollment programs do have age restrictions and guidelines that vary by state. Florida allows dual enrollment starting in 6th grade, but dual enrollment isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, so they are very forward thinking in this regard. The typical college allows admission in 11th grade, but you will occasionally find a private college that allows admission in 10th.

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