It can shorten your teen’s time and cost, in some cases, but in many cases it’s an expensive distraction that can create some issues.
Degree planning takes a lot work, brain space, and the desire to work outside of the college system. Degree planning is the aggressive accumulation of college credit that matches up with a college’s specific degree requirements. Degree planning in high school is “extreme” because it happens before “actual” college enrollment and without access to college advisors.
Before we dig in, there are three basic paths any Homeschooling for College Credit family can take.
(1) Earning college credit that aligns with a high school plan. This is as simple as matching up CLEP exams that coordinate to your teen’s high school courses and using dual enrollment courses if they are available.
(2) Associate degree through dual enrollment. Families that have access to dual enrollment will also have access to college advisors. They’ll help you pick courses that meet their associate degree requirements, and your teen can work towards completing a full associate degree in high school.
(3) Bachelor’s degree planning in high school. In this pathway, a parent maps out alternative credits (like AP, CLEP, DSST, Sophia, Studycom, Straighterline, etc.) to match up with a college’s bachelor’s degree requirements. To be clear, when parents do this, they are doing this without the support or guidance of a college. Most colleges do not endorse this kind of planning, and are unlikely to help you in any significant way. Still, if you choose from a small handful of universities that are very transfer-friendly, and if you’re up for the challenge, you can map out all (or nearly all) of your teen’s credits now. The intention is that as they graduate from high school, that their college credits will fill all (or nearly all) of the degree requirements immediately. In this scenario, many students apply for admissions and graduation in the same semester. The advantage of doing this is to save money or time.
On June 9th I’m hosting a free educational workshop called Associate Degrees in High School, where I’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages you’ll want to consider as you bring college credit into your homeschool. There will be a Q&A session to follow.